Cattleya corrals bigger slate

Stable has nine features ramped to shoot in 2005

ROME — Italo shingle Cattleya — co-producer of Radu Mihaileanu’s Berlin Panorama opener “Live and Become” — has a slew of new film and TV projects in the pipeline.

Despite a production slump last year due to the country’s protracted freeze on film subsidies — which has now finally ended — the Rome stable now has nine features ramped to shoot in 2005.

In 2004, Cattleya completed five titles, including top local grosser “Don’t Move,” starring Penelope Cruz. “We’re back at an optimal output level,” says company founder and co-topper Riccardo Tozzi. Among the projects:

  • Cameras started rolling in January on writer-director Cristina Comencini’s “The Beast in the Heart,” featuring A-list thesps Luigi Lo Cascio, Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Stefania Rocca. The “Beast” shoot will soon be moving Stateside, to Philadelphia, where the ensemble dramedy about love’s dark side is partly set. RAI Cinema is backing. France’s TF1 is selling.

  • Shooting is skedded to start this month on Roberta Torre’s erotic obsession tale “The Dark Sea,” which marks the Sicily-obsessed helmer’s departure from her customary Mafia underworld pics. Backed by RAI Cinema, “Dark Sea” will star French supermodel-turned-thesp Anna Mouglalis and again Lo Cascio.

  • Gianni Amelio’s “The Missing Star,” toplining Sergio Castellitto (“Don’t Move”), is set to roll in China in May. RAI Cinema and Lakeshore International are co-financing.

  • “Flying Lessons” by Francesca Archibugi will shoot in India in October. Cattleya is in talks with Peter Mullan to join Anna Galiena, Gigi Proietti and Valeria Golino in this coming-of-age pic.

  • Also in October, shooting is tentatively planned to begin on Edoardo Winspeare’s Africa-set costumer about the adventures of Italian aristocrat Amedeo Guillet, who became chief of an army of Muslim warriors during World War I.

  • Maria Sole Tognazzi will shoot “Entanglement,” a metaphysical pic based on the quantum physics theory postulating that similar particles can interact with each other at a distance, says Tozzi. Claudio Santamaria (“The Son’s Room”) and Valeria Golino (“Respiro”) are in talks to star.

  • Daniele Luchetti will shoot a still-untitled comedy rooted in Italy’s 1968 protest period.

  • Paolo Virzi’s immigration drama “Vita” is now casting and skedded for a start date during the second half of the year, backed by Medusa.

  • Virzi’s brother Carlo Virzi will debut with the teen heartache pic “Adelmo, Come Back to Me.”

On the TV side, Cattleya is shepherding its first skein, “Codice Rosso” (Code Red), about Italy’s firefighters, for Mediaset.

A two-part biopic of French singer Dalida, starring Sabrina Ferilli, is in post. Tozzi and partner Marco Chimenz say a TV remake of the 1969 generational comedy “Il Padre di Famiglia” (The Man of the Family), by Nanni Loy, also is in the works, to be directed by Luca Manfredi. Two-part mini is first of a series of sequels or remakes of 1960s Italian cinema classics.

While they welcomed the end of Italy’s funding freeze — thanks to some $90 million recently allocated by Parliament — Tozzi and Chimenz bemoaned the government’s failure to introduce its long-promised tax breaks, the only measure which they say could mark a true turning point for the Italo industry.

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