HanWay to handle international sales; Jacopo Olmo Antinori and Tea Falco star.

Principal photography starts today on Bernardo Bertolucci’s new film Io E Te, set almost entirely in a basement room.

The film is based on a short story by popular Italian author Niccolo Ammaniti.

Produced by Bertolucci’s own Fiction Cinematografica production company with Wildside’s Mario Gianani, who has worked with Saverio Costanzo (Private) and Marco Bellocchio (Vincere). HanWay Films will handle international rights; HanWay founder Jeremy Thomas has worked with Bertolucci on many projects, producing Oscar winner The Last Emperor and The Dreamers.

Medusa will distribute the film locally. The film will be shot in Italian.

For the script, Bertolucci and Ammaniti worked with top screenwriters Umberto Contarello and Francesca Marciano to adapt the story, which focuses on a troubled 14-year-old boy who hides out from his family in the basement and whose half sister comes by just to disturb his peace of mind.

Bertolucci reportedly selected his young cast after seeing hundreds in casting calls. Picking up on the director’s penchant for selecting promising new talent, the young boy will be portrayed by newcomer Jacopo Olmo Antinori and the young woman by Tea Falco, the actress’s first big role.

“It’s the first time that I make a film from a story that one half million people have just read or are in the process of reading. I ask myself if among the mysteries of that basement there isn’t something that Ammaniti hid for us. I am going to look for those mysteries in the eyes of Jacopo and Tea, who have become brother and sister, (portraying Lorenzo and Olivia) just now, with real emotions. I think they may even have exchanged tufts of their hair. I wonder where they put them. It’s just one of many secrets that this film will try to resolve. So, in a few days we will descend into that basement and we will get out sometime towards Christmas,” Bertolucci said.