Jeremy Irons is set to join the cast of Callas Forever, Italian director Franco Zeffirelli's upcoming drama about the last months in the life of Greek opera diva Maria Callas.

The $20 million film, written by Martin Sherman and Zeffirelli, is scheduled to begin shooting in July, with opera singer Teresa Stratas attached to the lead role. Jeremy Irons will play the part of an American impresario who accompanies Callas during her final months. The film is being produced by Rome-based Cattleya, with the backing of Medusa Film who also holds foreign distribution rights.

Meanwhile, Cattleya has also boarded The Hotel, Mike Figgis's new digital video film which is currently shooting in Venice with financing from Etchie Stroh's Moonstone Entertainment. The dark comedy which examines the goings-on in a decadent hotel and follows interweaving stories of political intrigue, assassination and prostitution, stars Salma Hayek, David Schwimmer, Fabrizio Bentivoglio (The Holy Tongue) and Ornella Muti.

Cattleya is also preparing an Italian remake of Groundhog Day, which is set to shoot in June in the Canary Islands. Italian actor Diego Abantantuono (Unfair Competition) has been attached to the lead role, played in the original by Bill Murray. Cattleya is currently in talks with potential co-production partners.