London-based Intandem Films has taken worldwide sales rights to Julie Delpy's Gothic thriller The Countess.

The film is inspired by the life of the 17th-century Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory, whose reckless pursuit of eternal beauty transformed her into a murderous heretic. Delpy, Oscar-nominated for her screenplay for Before Sunset, not only writes and directs but will also star as Bathory.

Radha Mitchell, Ethan Hawke, Daniel Bruhl and Vincent Gallo will also appear in the film, due to shoot in Eastern Europe this summer.

The Countess is the follow-up to Delpy's highly successful directorial debut feature, 2 Days In Paris, which has sold all over the world since screening in official selection in Berlin. The romantic comedy, which screened recently at the Tribeca Film Festival, is being released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Netflix in the US, Rezo Films in France and The Works in the UK.

'It is a very different project than my other film, 2 Days In Paris. My goal is to make a really special, unique drama with a really dark side but at the same time, there is a lot of romanticism in the tale,' Delpy said.

Delpy will be in Cannes later this month to support the project, which is already generating strong pre-sales. Deals struck thus far by Intandem for The Countess include Benelux (Dutch Film Works), Greece (Strada/Hollywood), Portugal (Lusomundo), CIS/Russia (Soyuz), Scandinavia (CCV), Bulgaria/Romania (New Films), Hungary (PA-Dora), The former Yugoslavia (PA-Dora), Czech Republic (PA-Dora), Middle East (Italia), Indonesia (PT-Amero), and Brazil (Ocean Films).

'Creatively, The Countess is an extremely strong package in every respect. The success of Julie's first feature gave great comfort to our buyers about her ability as a director. We are firm believers in this project and look forward to speaking to other distributors in Cannes about coming on board,' said Billy Hurman, one of the co-directors of Intandem Films.

Martin Shore, Christopher Tuffin and Matthew Chausse of Social Capital Films/BloodWorks are serving as producers, alongside Delpy.

This is not the first time Countess Bathory's story has been told on film. She was played by Paloma Picasso in Walerian Borowczyk's Immoral Tales (1974) and more recently by Anna Friel in Juraj Jakubisko's Bathory (2007).