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Betting big on ‘Borgia’

Jordan tackles Johansson, Farrell starrer

Neil Jordan will direct Scarlett Johansson and Colin Farrell in “Borgia,” a long-gestating drama about the internal struggles of the most powerful family in 15th century Rome.

The film will be produced by ImageMovers’ Jack Rapke and Christopher Eberts and Chris Roberts of Ascendant Pictures. Summit Entertainment’s Patrick Wachsberger will immediately begin selling strategic territories at AFM in partnership with CAA.

ImageMovers’ Robert Zemeckis and Steve Starkey will exec produce with John D. Schofield. ImageMovers developed the original concept with Laeta Kalogridis.

Project has been a passion of Jordan’s for years. He nearly had the film ready to go in 2002 with Ewan McGregor and Christina Ricci, but the collapse of the Neuer Markt that enabled such international productions left his film short of cash and he moved on. Jordan’s film has regained steam, thanks to the combination of Johansson and Farrell.

Jordan has written a script filled with betrayal, backstabbing and murder, within a family that aspired to be the most powerful clan of the Renaissance.

In 1492, the Pope dies and Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia emerges as the top contender to head the Vatican, despite a litter of illegitimate children. When he gets the papal throne, Rodrigo moves to consolidate his power thereby empowering and alienating various members of his family.

Johansson will play Rodrigo’s daughter Lucrezia Borgia, who’s torn between her family duties and a desire to find true love. Farrell will play Rodrigo’s youngest sun Cesare, a duplicitous and manipulative sibling who considers himself his sister’s closest confidante.

Production will begin in April.

Farrell, who just completed the Terrence Malick-directed “The New World,” is now shooting the Michael Mann-directed “Miami Vice” with Jamie Foxx for Universal.

Johansson just wrapped the Brian De Palma-directed “The Black Dahlia” and is shooting her second film with Woody Allen.

Jordan recently completed the Cillian Murphy starrer “Breakfast on Pluto.”

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