Neil Jordan's $45m epic Borgia will shoot in Italy and Romania, the director saidin Los Angeles last week.
The project, which wasoriginally configured as a $55m film to shoot in Italy and at BabelsbergStudios in Germany in 2002, was recently revitalized with Colin Farrell andScarlett Johnasson as siblings Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia.
Principal photography willstart in spring, with a large set to be constructed in Bucharest where Jordanwill also shoot battle scenes.
"This Borgia thing is really worth doing," said Jordan. "I am nota proselytiser for any kind of movie, but I think that Europe needs a big, dramatic,huge, emotional broad-appeal kind of story and this is it. One of the bestEuropean movies I've seen in a long time was Downfall and when I saw it, I thought this is the kind ofmovie we should be doing."
Jordan was originally sent ascript about Lucrezia Borgia in 1999 by Jack Rapke and Robert Zemeckis' companyImage Movers. "It was quite interesting but it wasn't good or something Iwanted to do, so I began to read up the history of the whole family," heexplains. "I said, Look, I'll write a script on the whole family: on the fatherRodrigo, the Pope, Cesare, Lucrezia, so I started afresh and wrote the scriptabout how this family were destroyed by actually getting what they wanted, whatthe Papacy was and the misuse of power and religion."
The project was originallyto be produced by Jordan's regular producing partner Stephen Woolley and wasset up as a mammoth European co-production with Myriad Pictures handlingforeign sales and 20th Century Fox on board as the US distributor.Ewan McGregor and Christina Ricci were cast as the leads, with a supportingcast including John Malkovich, Jean Reno, Ian McKellen and Antonio Banderas.
Myriad and Woolley split inmid-2002 over budget differences and Graham King's Initial Entertainment Groupcame on board, but by that time, the international sales market was on itsknees, the Neuermarkt had collapsed and the European TV sector was in tatters,so the film fell apart.
The new Borgia is being produced by Image Movers with AscendantPictures. Summit Entertainment is handling international sales.