The $7m project is being produced by Dante with Los Angeles-based Elizabeth Stanley and UK-based Mia Bays. A chunk of the budget has already been raised through a Japanese pre-sale.
The film is a fictional feature based on the true story of producer/director Roger Corman dropping acid in 1967 to research The Trip, a film he was making with Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda. Tim Lucas and Charlie Largent wrote the script, which was then worked on by Michael Almereyda and Jim Robison.
John Sayles, Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese - who all worked with Corman - have agreed to appear in the film. Corman himself will make a cameo. No other cast members are attached yet.
Dante, who worked with Corman for five years, hopes that European financiers might come on board because Corman has a strong reputation abroad. 'Roger was seen as more of an auteur in Europe, in the US he was seen as a entrepreneur,' Dante explained.
'We've had lots of UK interest,' Bays added. The team is talking to sales companies now to start sales during Cannes.
Dante said the counterculture movement and anti-Vietnam sentiment in the US in 1967 had direct parallels to contemporary attitudes. 'This film seems oddly contemporary,' he said.
Dante will also team with Bays and Stanley for comedy Expecting Someone Taller, based on Tom Holt's fantasy novel that reinvents Wagner's Ring Cycle in modern England. A 'prominent British comedy writer' is in talks to adapt the script. That project, with a budget around $20m, would likely shoot in the UK.
Dante and Stanley also are working with writer Greg Pak (Robot Stories) and director Eduardo Rodriguez (Curandero) to develop the English-language version of thriller Ecoute Le Temps (Fissures).
Oscar winner Bays is also one of the producer of Stephen Kijak's Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, playing in Panorama Dokumente.