Bertolucci in ‘Heaven’

ROME — Bernardo Bertolucci’s next feature will be “Heaven and Hell,” an English-language drama set in 16th century Italy and based on the life of innovative late-Renaissance madrigal composer Gesualdo da Venosa.

The Oscar-winning director unveiled the project at a 25th anniversary showing of “Last Tango in Paris” this week in Milan.

Bertolucci’s frequent screenwriting collaborator, Mark Peploe, currently is working with the director on the script, which traces the life of musician Carlo Gesualdo, a prince from a large Neapolitan family in the town of Venosa, who killed his first wife and her lover and later married aristocrat Eleonora d’Este.

The film was announced earlier this year as an untitled project on the slate of Medusa Film, the production and distribution division of Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest group.

Jeremy Thomas, Bertolucci’s producer on his last four features, is expected to produce again for Medusa. However, the director has indicated the possible participation of a U.S. major in the big-budget costumer.

Bertolucci’s previously announced project, a continuation of his “1900” saga taking in the protest generation of the late ’60s, now has been put on hold.

“Heaven and Hell” will be Bertolucci’s first entirely Italian story since 1981’s “The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man.”

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