Warner Bros is extending its commitment to producing films in France with the agreement to make Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's next picture, A Very Long Engagement.

The French-language period picture is based on a best-selling novel by Sebastien Japrisot about a woman's search for the truth behind her fiancee's mysterious disappearance.

The deal signing Jeunet to write and direct the picture was announced by Alan Horn, Warner Bros president and chief operating officer and Richard Fox, Warner's executive vice president. Warner had previously bought French and English-language rights to the novel which won France's Prix Interallia in 1991.

"We are thrilled to have signed up a director of Jeunet's standing and to have such an exciting project," Francis Boespflug, general manager of Warner Bros France told Screen International. "He is currently working on the script and until that is completed it is too early to hazard any guesses about budget, casting or start of production."

"This is compelling human drama. We're sure this film, like the book, will appeal to audiences universally," said Horn.

Warner's track-record in France includes runaway hits Le Boulet by Alain Berberian and Frederic Forestier and Thomas Gilou's La Verite Si Je Mens as well as Claude Miller's Class Trip.

Jeunet, who has also directed Alien: Resurrection and co-directed Delicatessen, said he had been waiting over ten years to realise this dream project. "Japrisot's novel is a fabulous story about love, hope and willpower," he said.