The British director of Widow’s Peak and the original TV series of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will direct from a screenplay by Donald C. Scott.

John Irvin is to direct World War II epic love story drama Monte Cassino, based on a true story about an American soldier and an Italian nurse.

Written by Donald C.Scott, the screenplay tells the true story of an American soldier who became trapped behind enemy lines and fell in love with an Italian novice nurse at the Monte Cassino monastery during the Italian campaign of WWII.

Steffen Wild of Fourth Culture Films and Davina Belling of Film & General are producing the film, which looks set to shoot in Montenegro in 2012.

The British director, who boarded the project six months ago, is due to fly out to LA this week to being casting,

He told Screen that when he read the script it was “love at first sight.”

“The Monte Cassino story is one that has fascinated me for a long time, so when the script came to me I was thrilled. A lot of war films are very formulaic but this one is really special. It’s about the hardship and suffering, but at the heart of it is a love story. And the fact that it is true makes it even more extraordinary,” said Irvin.

Meanwhile on the subject of the new adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Irvin said it was “a great form of flattery, because if the first one wasn’t any good they wouldn’t be making this.”

“But I’m very happily married to what we did and I’m not getting divorced!” he added.