'The book is really a history of cinema rewritten as fiction,' he told Screendaily.com. It is the first of 100 slim volumes that will together act as a compendium of history. Each will examine a range of topics from toys and clouds to conception and death.
Greenaway said an Australian producer was on board the film but would not reveal who. Part of his attraction to Australia is the generous new tax rebates for Australian films. There is still a lot of uncertainty about what qualifies as Australian: he said he would be extensively utilising the landscape and employing many Australians.
But it may be some time before cameras role as the prolific multimedia artist has five features in the pipeline. The next one will go into production mid-year in Sao Paulo. The dramatisation of the Old Testament will merge religion and porn and be finished in time for the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
Greenaway also has 20 museum projects to complete, some of which involve adding sound and light to some of the world's most famous paintings. He has just received permission to work his magic on The Last Supper and has his eye on The Last Judgement, housed at The Vatican.
'We are manoeuvring diplomacy to see if we can get our hands on that painting,' he said.
Greenaway gave a keynote address Feb 22 to the Australian International Documentary Conference. He told his audience that cinema is dead, that audiences are turning away because it is 'irrelevant, unnecessary and boring' and that producers are visually illiterate.
But he also said that the digital revolution would bring an end to text-based cinema and image makers would become the gate keepers of the future.
'We should not cry tears because what is going to happen next is going to be 10,000 times more exciting,' he said. 'This is going to be a golden age.'
Greenaway's 15 features include The Draughtsman's Contract, A Zed And Two Noughts, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover.