Polish filmmaker Wieslaw Saniewski is in talks with Harvey Keitel and Omar Sharif to star in his upcoming project The Winner.

Saniewski told ScreenDaily.com that his production company Saco Films had a letter of intent from Keitel’s agent and confirmation of Sharif’s interest through the project’s French partner, Joanna Bruzdowicz of Cat.Studio.

“We would like to get both Keitel and Sharif, but it depends on their time,” Saniewski said.

The film will be mainly in English with a few scenes in Polish, the director added.

Saniewski will direct from his own script. A young pianist, played by Pawel Szajda (Sweet Rush, Under The Tuscan Sun) meets an older Polish emigrant with whom he shares a passion for horse racing.

Production will begin this autumn in Wroclaw, Poland and elsewhere in Lower Silesia, and continuing in spring 2010 in Germany and the United States. Saniewski hopes to attach Pawel Edelman (The Pianist, Ray) as DOP.

The film will be a Polish-US-French-German co-production, Saniewski said, although contracts have not yet been signed with the American and German co-producers.

Of the $3.5m budget, roughly $1.4m (4.5m zloty) comes from Polish public sources, including the Polish Film Institute, City of Wroclaw, and the Lower Silesia region.