Theseus epic to be produced by Kalliope Films and The Institute’s Scott Gardenhour; Avatar and Spiderman 2 crew on board.

Javor Gardev is attached to direct Kalliope Films’ Theseus, an epic the company is budgeting in the $50m-range.

The film will combine the story of the mythical Greek hero Theseus’ battle with the Minotaur and other myths surrounding the hero.

The script was written by producer/writer Kira Madallo Sesay of Kalliope Films. Scott Gardenhour of The Institute for the Development of Enhanced Perceptual Awareness is also producing.

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The production is currently talking to several European studios and VFX partners as well as US agencies who are interested in packaging the film.

Kalliope secured a portion of the film’s budget through pre-sales in Cannes. The rest of the budget will come from a combination of GAP finance, soft money, EU equity and tax shelter funding.

The production, which is aiming for a 2013 shoot, is currently out to cast.

Joseph C. Pepe, a key character designer from Avatar will be designing the film’s creatures and Korey Cauchon, vfx producer of Immortals, Sucker Punch and Spiderman 2 will handle effects.

Bulgarian director Gardev’s debut Zift picked up a number of awards at international festivals including two awards at the 2008 Moscow International Film Festival.

“I like the fact that the script infuses the Theseus story with so many events and even whole branches of the Greek mythological canon. It’s almost a compendium,” said Javor. “When I was a child I had a dream to star in a sword and sandals epic. Now that I’m being given the exceptional opportunity to direct one, I intend to plunge into it and activate all of my imagination, to create an exciting visual feast and turn this movie into an incredible adventure.”

Kalliope Films is currently in production on In My Father’s Footsteps, a faith-based documentary film about WWE wrestling star Ted DiBiase Jr.

Hansel and Gretel in 3D is also on Kalliope’s slate, with The Institute again on board. Kalliope expects to retain key crew and production partners from Theseus on the fairytale update.