John Malkovich is to take the title role in Raul Ruiz's Klimt, an homage to the famous Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

The film will focus on the last years of Klimt's life from 1900 to 1918. Negotiations are currently underway for German actress Veronica Ferres to play Klimt's partner Emilie Floege and other parts to be taken by Sophie Marceau and Austrian actors Elisabeth Orth and Georg Friedrich.

The international co-production's lead producer is Epo-Film. Shooting on the Austrian-German-French co-production is set to begin at the end of August at locations in Vienna, Upper Austria and a German studio.

Austrian public broadcaster ORF is already onboard the project which is expected to attract funding from Germany, France and possibly also the UK. Delivery is scheduled for Cannes 2005.

The Vienna Film Fund has contributed Euros 550,000 to the production.

The Vienna Film Fund has also backed Michael Haneke's thriller Cache, starring Juliette Binoche, with Euros 600,000.

The film will be produced by Veit Heiduschka's Wega Film as an Austrian-French co-production.