British director Julien Temple has joined forces with Film & Music Entertainment (F&ME), the London-based production company run by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor, to direct the company’s long-gestating $15 million art heist movie Fake!

The film is based on the biography of notorious art fake Elmyr de Hory written by the equally notorious hoax biographer Clifford Irving. The artist was also the subject of Orson Welles’ final film, F For Fake. With a draft screenplay by Michael Kalesniko already in the bag, Temple is currently working on a pass with Kalesniko with a view to a spring shoot in Spain, France and Croatia.

Kalesniko is best know for his features Howard Stern’s Private Parts, and Kenneth Branagh-vehicle How To Kill Your Neighbour’s Dog as well as a string of uncredited studio re-writes. Kalesniko is currently engaged to re-write sci-fi spoof Iron Sky for F&ME.

Fake! is a story of dramatic intrigue and excitement from the complex emotional triangle between the three main protagonists” says Temple “There’s an element of To Catch A Thief about what they do. As becomes clear in his conversations with Welles, one of the most amazing illusions Elmyr maintained during all the years of his career as an art forger was that he was not a criminal and what he was doing was not a crime. He knew of course it was against the law but so was jaywalking or smoking a joint. What he did, unlike governments and politicians, didn’t harm anyone else.”