WWII epic drama penned by 'Dove's' Amini

NEW YORK — Miramax will partner with Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures on “Shanghai,” an epic drama scripted by Hossein Amini, who was Oscar-nominated for his adaptation of “The Wings of the Dove.”

Story, set on the eve of WWII, concerns an American spy whose entanglements include romance.

Project has long been a passion project for the Shanghai-born Medavoy, who lived there until his parents fled to Chile before the Japanese invaded.

The drama, originally expected to be made by Columbia, has been a magnet for top directors.

John Madden is expected to make it his follow-up to “Shakespeare in Love.” Interestingly, Miramax held an exclusive multipicture option on Madden’s next movie.

Miramax at the time wanted to become a partner and control foreign rights, a situation Columbia considered unacceptable. Mike Newell then became attached. Miramax has now taken over all financing duties from Columbia and will own all rights, and it is unclear whether Madden will be approached again.

The film will be produced by Medavoy and Barry Mendel, with Phoenix’s Arnie Messer exec producing.

Miramax’s Bob Osher and Eric Roth brokered the deal for the studio, with Osher, Jon Gordon and Colin Vaines overseeing the project.

It is the second significant alignment Phoenix has made on one of its big-ticket projects, with Intermedia boarding to finance the drama “Basic,” a film likely to be directed by Lee Tamahori.

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