Madden plucks ‘Mandolin’

Cage plays Italian officer who charms locals

LONDON — Helmer John Madden has committed to direct “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” for Working Title Films.

Madden, making his first outing since “Shakespeare in Love,” is replacing Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”), who dropped out for health reasons.

The pic, which starts shooting in April on location in Corfu, Greece, is being co-financed by Universal Pictures and Canal Plus.

But Miramax Films will get either distribution rights in a couple of foreign territories or a co-production arrangement as the price for releasing Madden from his commitment to direct his first pic after “Shakespeare” for the company.

“Mandolin” is a romance set on the Greek island of Cephalonia during the Italian occupation in World War II. Nicolas Cage stars as an Italian officer who charms the locals.

Novel approach

Shawn Slovo has penned the adaptation of Louis de Bernieres’ bestselling novel. The pic is being produced by Kevin Loader along with Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

Having signed a two-pic deal with Miramax, Madden has been biding his time since “Shakespeare,” working closely on the development of a slew of projects with various producers, including “Charlotte Gray,” for FilmFour, Miramax’s “Silk” and Revolution Films’ “Fast Forward.”

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