Director Pavel Lungin is in the midst of filming on Ivan The Terrible And The Metropolitan Philip (working title) about Russia's first czar, Ivan IV.

Russian Film Business Today reports that American cinematographer Tom Stern is DOP of the film. Stern is known for his work on American Beauty, Mystic River and his frequent collaboration with Clint Eastwood on such films a Million Dollar Baby and Letters From Iwo Jima.

Lungin is producing the film through his Pavel Lungin Studio. As director he has been nominated three times for the Palm D'Or -- in 1990 for Taxi Blues, in 1992 for Luna Park and in 2000 for The Wedding. Taxi Blues earned him Best Director at Cannes.

The story of the film focuses on two years of Ivan's reign and his contentious relationship with Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as St. Philip II. Although childhood friends, Philip and Ivan later became political enemies. Philip was eventually murdered, apparently on Ivan's orders.

Filming is taking place at a monastery in the picturesque town of Suzdal, 100 km northeast of Moscow.