EXCLUSIVE: Fernando Meirelles says that Nemesis, his upcoming film about tycoon Aristotle Onassis, will start shooting for 10 weeks in October in Croatia, where location scouting is actually under way.

The project, produced by Pathe UK, is budgeted at $30m.

The director will fly to London next week to take stock of the ongoing pre-production details.

Meirelles spoke to Screen about the film at the Fortaleza Iberoamerican Film Festival in northeastern Brazil. He is also participating in a conference and a roundtable on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of City of God, which catapulted him to the world film scene, garnering four Academy Award nominations.

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In Nemesis, Croatia will double for Greece, which was considered too expensive when the production originally thought of shooting there because of the subject matter. Further shooting is scheduled in Budapest doubling for Buenos Aires and in London doubling for New York, all places where Onassis lived and conducted his business.

Casting is under way and set to be announced soon, Meirelles said.

The film is based on the book by the UK writer Peter Adams adapted for the screen by Oscar nominated City of God writer Braulio Mantovani (Elite Squad, The Year My Parents Went on Vacation).

This long-gestating project that attracted interest from various quarters and several directors in the past will follow the controversial life of Onassis who, born in a poor Greek family (1906) emigrated to Argentina and rose to dominate the world merchant marine scene. His lifetime was marked by such events as his legendary struggle with Stavros Niarchos, the other Greek merchant marine tycoon, for the world leadership in this sector, as well as his romantic adventures with such personalities as Maria Callas and Jackie Onassis to whom he was wed. He died in 1975 destroyed by the death in an air accident of his only son Alexandros, who was heir to his colossal fortune.