Owen revisits ‘Brideshead’

Producer also has 'Fever,' 'Holiday' on slate

Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly, the married thesps who starred together in “A Beautiful Mind,” are set to reteam in a movie version of Evelyn Waugh’s romantic novel “Brideshead Revisited,” which Warner Independent Pictures will release in North America.

Pic is one of three high-profile projects on the upcoming slate of Brit producer Alison Owen, whose recent credits include “Proof” and “Sylvia.”

She also is restructuring “Tulip Fever,” which fell apart in pre-production earlier this year because of the sudden change in U.K. tax rules; and developing “Rachel’s Holiday,” with Catherine Zeta-Jones in talks to star.

“Brideshead Revisited,” which Owen’s Ruby Films is producing with Ecosse Films, will be directed by David Yates, who helmed the BAFTA-winning BBC series “State of Play.” Script is by Andrew Davies.

Set in the 1920s and ’30s and previously adapted into a classic Granada TV series, “Brideshead Revisited” is the story of Charles Ryder (Bettany), an aspiring painter who gets mixed up with the aristocratic, beautiful, doomed Flyte family — sister Julia (Connolly) and brother Sebastian (yet to be cast).

Warner Independent is in line to take North America, with the producers finalizing the international co-finance to start shooting in August.

“Tulip Fever,” adapted by Tom Stoppard from Deborah Moggach’s romantic novel set in 17th-century Holland, is being retooled to shoot early in 2005. Keira Knightley is still firm to star, although the continued involvement of director John Madden and co-star Jude Law is unresolved and depends on other commitments.

Originally set up as a $45 million DreamWorks production, pic is being reconceived as a $26 million indie project. DreamWorks now will take only North American rights, with Owen lining up foreign distribution.

“Rachel’s Holiday,” adapted by Jonathan Harvey from Miriam Keyes’ novel about a woman who can’t face up to her addiction, is being developed with BBC Films.

Ruby also has a separate, untitled production company in partnership with thesp Gwyneth Paltrow. Its first project, crime thriller “Diamonds,” is being scripted by “Sexy Beast” duo Louis Mellis and David Scinto. Owen is in the process of raising equity coin to finance the Paltrow shingle.

Meanwhile, former DreamWorks production exec Paul Lister is working with Ruby in Los Angeles and likely to join the company.

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