Gillian Armstrong's long-gestating adaptation of Somerset Maugham's The Painted Veil has re-surfaced as a $32m project on the sales slate of France's UGC International, with actors Nicole Kidman and Edward Norton the targeted leads.

Maugham's turn-of-the-century tale is set in China and follows an adulterous doctor's wife who redeems herself during an epidemic. Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) adapted the book, which has already inspired two previous US movies: Richard Boleslavsky's The Painted Veil (1934) starring Greta Garbo, and Ronald Neame's The Seventh Sin (1957) with Eleanor Parker and Bill Travers.

Armstrong's project, which was once set up with Fine Line Features, is being produced through Emotion Pictures, the Franco-US label run by former CiBy 2000 boss Jean-Francois Fonlupt.

The film, which would shoot later this year depending on Kidman's many other commitments, is one of the most talked about titles at the AFM this week. UGC boss Patrick Binet offered no comment.