Brazilian director Walter Salles' upcoming Assumption Of The Virgin will start shooting next year in Rome's fabled Cinecitta Studios on a set designed by Oscar winning legend Dante Ferretti (Gangs Of New York).

Benicio Del Toro, Geoffrey Rush, Chloe Sevigny and Juliette Binoche are all set to star in the movie, about a nun who is lured away from her convent by the Renaissance painter Fra Lippi. Carolyn Choa is producing with David Lascelles. Executive producers are Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack through their Mirage Enterprises and Mark Shivas and David Thompson, head of BBC Films.

Minghella, who filmed The Talented Mr Ripley in Cinecitta, wrote the script of Assumption Of The Virgin with Leigh Jackson.

In the meantime, Cinecitta will inaugurate on November 22nd its new $2million digital facilities, as part of its bid to become a European hub for digital post-production and special effects.

Digital expert David Bush is in charge of Cinecitta Digital . He told Screen International. "We want to become an international digital hub."

And as Cinecitta strives to become a digital leader, leading film lab Deluxe Laboratories has just inaugurated a new office and high volume processing plant in the Italian capital - making it its first plant in a non-English speaking country.