Paul Verhoeven and his regularscriptwriter Gerard Soeteman are pushing ahead again with Batavia's Graveyard, their blood-curdlinghistorical epic about the shipwreck of the Bataviain 1629. The film was previously set up at FilmFour.

"It's a story in the directionof the Bounty but it's much more about the development of a fascist regime," Verhoeven told ScreenDaily.

"That story has alwaysfascinated us. We said if we don't write it now, we will never make it."

When the Bataviawent down on small islands off the coast of Australia,the survivors fell into the hands of a psychotic mutineer called Jeronimus Cornelisz who had morethan 120 men, women and children murdered in brutal fashion.

The Dutch Film Fund isinvesting in the development of the project, which was first announced in 2002but stalled when the financing fell through. Soetemanis currently midway through writing the screenplay.

When it is complete at theend of the year, Verhoeven and Soetemanwill present it to potential producers.

Verhoeven descibes theEnglish-language feature as "a really difficult big movie," and on a far biggerscale that his current feature, Black Book.

Batavia's Graveyard is one of several projects to which the Dutchauteur is attached.

He is still planning tomake $35m detective story Winter Queen,which he bills as "a combination of Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes situatedat the end of the Nineteenth Century in England and Russia."

He is also due to make Beast Of Bataan, about the war crimes trial of Lieutnant General Masaharu Hommaat the end of the Second World War.

Verhoeven said that he expected both projects to be financedin a similar way to Black Book.

"I've felt in the lastfour or five years a need to address the fact that I am European, " Verhoeven commented, "I've made so many American movies ina certain style, with so much science-fiction, that I wanted to get out of itand try to go more in the direction of my earlier work."

$20m Black Book (sold by Content), a thriller set in Holland in thedying days of the Second World War, is now well into production. The film islikely to surface in either Cannesor Venice prior to its release in the Netherlands next September.