Italian auteur Roberto Faenza, whose last picture I Giorni Dell'Abbandono screened incompetition at the Venice Film Festival, is currently lining up an ambitioushistorical adaptation which Luchino Visconti had originally planned to bring tothe big screen.

The $9.8m (Euros 8m) film, entitled The Viceroys, is an adaptation of Federico De Roberto's 1894 novelabout three generations of a powerful Sicilian dynasty, descendants of the SpanishViceroys, who dominated the Sicilian nobility at the time of the Risorgimento.

Faenza unveiled his new project at the European Film Awards inBerlin, where he was nominated for the European Director award for his Mafiadrama Come into the Light (Alla Luce DelSole).

"I have been dreaming of making The Viceroys for 15 years," he said. "It's a film thatVisconti wanted to make so it will also be a tribute to him and to the greatdirectors of the past."

The film is written by Faenza, Andrea Purgatori, Renato Minore andTullio Giardina.

Elda Ferri's Rome outfit Jean Vigo is producing, with backing fromRai Cinema and Rai Fiction.

"I think De Roberto's masterpiece is also a great pretext totalk about contemporary Italy," Faenza said.

The director says he plans to make a single version of thefour-hour film that will be released both at the cinema and on TV.

Like Marco Tullio Giordana's hit six-hour film, The Best of Youth, The Viceroys wasoriginally planned as a TV movie. After winningCannes' Un Certain Regard, TheBest of Youth was first released as a two-part feature film.