Lakeshore sets ‘Postino’ duo for ‘Eva’

After nearly a year of negotiations, Lakeshore Entertainment has finalized a deal with the creators of “Il Postino” (The Postman) to adapt Isabel Allende’s epic love story “Eva Luna” for the bigscreen.

“Postino” helmer Michael Radford is attached to direct, and Antonio Skarmeta, upon whose novel the 1995 arthouse hit was based, is writing the script. Lakeshore hopes to put the project before the cameras next spring.

Trio of producers

Prolific Gotham-based indie film-maker Dean Silvers will produce (Daily Variety, Jan. 14), along with the Sundance Institute’s Michelle Satter and Aussie distribution exec Jane Alsobrook.

The book, which takes place over four decades, traces the colorful life of an orphan from her impoverished beginnings to her rise to fame and fortune.

“It’s ultimately about the search for family by people who have been orphaned in different ways,” Satter said.

For Silvers, whose production credits include such quirky arthouse comedies as “Manny & Lo” and “Flirting With Disaster,” it was the book’s humor and potential for visual excitement that attracted him.

“A lot of foreign epic films seem a little self-indulgent to me,” Silvers told Daily Variety, “I saw the action in this book.”

Satter and Alsobrook optioned “Eva Luna” several years ago and brought it to then-Propaganda co-chairman Sigurjon (Joni) Sighvatsson.

“He shared our enthusiasm but for various reasons couldn’t do it at the time,” said Satter. “He said to come back when we had a writer and director who shared our vision.”

After Silvers and Radford came on board in late 1996, the project went back to Sighvatsson, now president of Lakeshore.

Yearlong effort

But the deal took yet another year to fall into place, in part because of the principals’ conflicting schedules. Silvers said the fact that the key players are located in seven cities on four continents also slowed the dealmaking process.

Allende, the niece of the assassinated Chilean president Salvador Allende, has written more than a half- dozen books including “Of Love and Shadows,” “Paula” and “The House of the Spirits,” which was made into a film by director Bille August.

London-based Radford most recently directed Miramax’s upcoming “B Monkey,” a dark love story starring Italian actress Asia Argento. He is also attached to direct an adaptation of the French novel “The Swedish Cavalier.”

Skarmeta has written more than a dozen books, including novels, short fiction, essays and poetry. The Chilean scribe is also a college professor who has taught literature, language and film in Europe, South America and the U.S.

Silvers’ production credits include Fine Line’s “Spanking the Monkey” and Goldwyn’s “The Last Good Time.” He recently wrapped shooting on his directorial debut, “Rock the Boat.”

Together with his wife Marlen Hecht, Silvers produced “Wigstock” and “Manny & Lo,” and exec pro-duces the John Pierson-hosted inde-pendent film series “Split Screen” for IFC/Bravo.

Satter has been director of feature film programs at the Sundance Institute since its beginning in 1981. Alsobrook is president of Australian arthouse distributor REP.

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