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Inside move: ‘Mortara’s’ in purgatory

Pic was to be directed by O'Donnell; to lense Oct. 7

For the moment, the Anthony Hopkins/Javier Bardem starrer “Edgardo Mortara” is no more. The $20 million film, which had been in pre-production in Romania and Italy, was to be produced by Julia Chasman along with Industry Entertainment’s Nick Wechsler’s and FilmFour.

Miramax Films had been on board to distribute but backed off once the financing, which was to come from Germany’s Senator Film, fell through (Daily Variety, Sept. 17).

The film is based on the true story of a Jewish boy who was kidnapped by the pope in the mid 19th century. Hopkins was to play Pope Pius IX, Bardem the boy’s father.

“The producers hope to remount the production next year,” said Chasman, who along with her team had over the past two weeks attempted to find fresh financing for the pic. The Film Consortium and its sales arm the Works were in the final stages of negotiating a deal to take over the project from FilmFour and to put up half the budget. But that and other offers never materialized.

Pic, which was to be directed by Damien O’Donnell, was to start shooting Oct. 7 in Rome.

Crew members were given notice of the shutdown in mid-September, but they continued working in the hope that a solution to the cash crisis could be found quickly. It couldn’t be and now their work is done.

It’s remains unclear what will happen to the sets prepped for the pic.

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