Director also to pen 'Long Time' script

Jean-Jacques Beineix is brushing up his Proust.

Gallic helmer has optioned the adaptation rights to the philosophical thriller “For a Long Time I Used To Go To Bed Early” by much-adapted French author Jean-Pierre Gattegno.

Novel takes its title from the opening words of Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past,” and a stolen manuscript of the work plays a key role in the action. Story line also involves the theft of famed Courbet painting “L’Origine du Monde” from Paris’ Musee d’Orsay.

Beineix has yet to pen the script, he says, “but I’ve started working on it in my mind.”

The “Diva” and “Betty Blue” helmer’s last pic “Mortal Transfer” (2001) was also an adaptation of a book by the same writer.

Loved by some reviewers and loathed by others — especially in France, where the helmer has a bad tempered relationship with film critics — “Mortal Transfer” did not do well at the box office, and like Beineix’s two previous films, did not get U.S. distribution.

“It galls me that my last three films haven’t been released in America, where they adore ‘Betty Blue,’ ” Beineix said.

His company Cargo Films recently inked a pact with Gaumont to take back the mandate to handle international distribution on the titles.

Gattegno’s two other novels were also turned into films, Raoul Ruiz’ “A Place Among The Living” (2003) and “Passage a l’Acte” (aka “Death in Therapy”) (1996), helmed by Francois Girod with Daniel Auteuil.

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