Francis Ford Coppola has confirmed his role as executive producer on the international version of Thai film Suriyothai and will take over the sale of all international rights. The re-edit will carry the credit 'Francis Ford Coppola presents a film by Chatrichalerm Yukol' and will be finished in time for the Cannes Film Festival.

Coppola and director Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol announced details of the collaboration at a press conference (March 9) in Bangkok. Coppola is currently in the Thai capital with the director revising the running time to 140 minutes from the original hefty length of 185 minutes. "This is truly an epic of great proportions - one audiences the world over will enjoy if made more accessible by tweaking a little", said Coppola.

As well as cutting the film down, Coppola is also shooting an additional three scenes to help the flow of the historic epic for non-Thai audiences. Coppola will also rewrite the English subtitles and add written graphics to clarify the story-line, which sticks closely to the actual events surrounding the period when Queen Suriyothai's kingdom came under attack during the sixteenth century.

Coppola returns to San Francisco at the end of the week to oversee the final editing through his production outfit American Zoetrope.

The additional cost of producing the final cut is estimated at $2m, bringing the total production budget of the film to $15m - by far the most expensive Thai film ever. The local release of the original at the end of last year pulled in more than $13.9m (baht600m) breaking all previous records for any film released in Thailand.

Coppola takes over the international sales of the film previously handled by the Thai outfit GMT Entertainment headed by Gerald Dibbayawan. However, it is yet to be finalised through which of his companies he will sell the title worldwide.