As it beefs up its slate of high-profile pictures, Rome powerhouse Eagle Pictures has acquired rights to Blackberry Wine, the new novel from Joanne Harris, the best-selling author of Chocolat, and is also developing The White Rose, a new project from director Joel Schumacher (Tigerland, The Client).

An epicurean follow-up to Chocolat, Blackberry Wine is narrated by a bottle of wine and follows a frustrated writer, Jay Mackintosh, who lives in London, writes pulp science fiction under a pseudonym and drinks home-made fruit wine. As the plot develops, each sip of wine he takes brings the writer back 25 years to the 1970s.

Meanwhile, Eagle president Giampaolo Sodano said Schumacher is currently writing the script for The White Rose, based on the true story of a group of German students who opposed the Nazi regime during the Second World War. The $15m movie is expected to shoot in Germany in 2002 or 2003.

In addition, Eagle has bought Italian distribution rights on Harold Becker's upcoming drama Gold Coast, which stars Al Pacino, from IAC Films.