Yvonne Catterfeld is to play the legendary Austrian-born icon Romy Schneider in Josef Rusnak's biopic Eine Frau Wie Romy (literally A Woman Like Romy) which will begin shooting at locations in France and Germany from July 23.

According to German press reports, actresses such as Jodie Foster and Eva Green had been interested in the role. However, director Rusnak pointed out that the project's French partners had always stressed that the pivotal role be cast with a German actress even though she lived much of her life in France.

For singer-actress Catterfeld this is a role of a lifetime. She first came to wider public attention in a German daily soap and appeared in Stefan Ruzowitzky's family film Lily The Witch which was shot at the Babelsberg studios last summer.

Rusnak, whose past credits include The 13th Floor (1999), Victims (2004) and It's Alive (2007), explained that he does 'not intend to make a copy of Romy. It will be a story which can only be an approach toward the phenomenon that was Romy.'

Producers Douglas Welbat and Raymond Danon, who worked with Schneider on eight films before her death at 43 in 1982, revealed that it had taken 3½
years of preparations before being able to find the actress in the role of Romy . Other casting of roles with actors from France and Germany will be made known in the following months.

'There couldn't be a better subject for a collaboration between Germany and France,' said Welbat who has written the screenplay. 'We cast throughout half of Europe before we decided on Yvonne,' while Danon added that Catterfeld is 'perfect for the part.'

The Euros 23m German-French co-production between Hamburg-based movieCompany and France's Bankable Films is set to be released by Warner Bros in Germany in autumn 2009.