Furlong on ‘Quest’

Thesp commits to Avati's first English lingo pic

ROME — Edward Furlong will sport armor and wield a sword in “The Knights of the Quest,” a medieval adventure epic set immediately after the Crusades that is the first English-language feature from veteran Italian writer-director Pupi Avati.

Furlong (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “American History X”) heads a cast that includes Marco Leonardi (“The Five Senses”), Italian heartthrobs Kim Rossi Stuart and Raul Bova and French thesp Stanislas Merahr (“The Count of Monte Cristo”).

James Fox is in negotiations to join the supporting cast, which also includes Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham and Avati favorite Carlo Delle Piane.

Sacred journey

Set in 1271, tale mixes the violent with the sacred, centering on five young knights who journey together to Thebes in Greece to recover the Sacred Shroud and deliver it back to France and into the hands of the royal family.

Budgeted at $13 million-$15 million, film will be produced by Antonio Avati for Duea Film with Italian pubcaster RAI. Co-producers are Tarak Ben Ammar and Mark Lombardo for Paris-based Quinta Communications, which represents the media interests throughout the world of Saudi magnate Prince Al Waleed bin Talal.

Shooting starts April 3 in the medieval Umbrian hilltown of Todi and continues for 16 weeks on locations in Italy and Tunisia. Delivery date will be early 2001.

Universal theme

“This is a real attempt to make an international movie on a subject matter that’s truly universal in its themes,” Ben Ammar said.

Ben Ammar is negotiating with a U.S. major for the sale of worldwide rights to the pic, including Italy. “For some time now, the majors have been saying they want quality European projects, so here we are,” he added.

Avati’s 1998 feature “The Best Man,” released in the United States by October Films and internationally by Universal, was nominated for a Golden Globe in the foreign-language film category. His latest feature, “Up to the Angels,” was released domestically by Medusa late last year.

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