The project is a comic take on the true story ofthe theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 and was written by top Hollywoodscreenwriter Jeremy Leven (The Notebook) who has been intending to makeit his follow-up to directorial debut Don Juan De Marco.
In 2001, nowdefunct sales agent Hilltop Entertainment had made a deal with NormanLear's Act III to back the film and had corralled the $45m financingfrom Khyam Investment Group which was also planning to pay for P&Aon a service deal with Weinstein-era Miramax Films.
But Khyam droppedout at the 11th hour and the cast - Robin Williams, Antonio Banderasand Renee Zellweger - went on to other projects. Warner Bros picked upthe project, but it was finally put into turnaround last November andGirard has snapped it up with plans to configure it as a $35m Europeanco-production.
Banderas is still attached to star and Dustin Hoffmanhas stepped into the Williams role.
'When we told [Banderas] that thisproject is flying again, he said you can count on me,' Girard explains.The film will be shot by Robert Fraisse (Enemy At The Gates, GoodbyeBafana) and edited by Herve Schneid (Amelie.) Girard is looking toappoint a sales agent here in Berlin.