Procacci shows literary leanings

Carpinelli to run imprint's new incarnation; writer Baricco to give editorial input

ROME — Making waves in Italy’s publishing world, Domenico Procacci’s Fandango shingle is beefing up its book side big-time with help from star author Alessandro Baricco, whose novel “Silk” is being spun into a Fandango-produced pic with Francois Girard (“The Red Violin”) attached to helm.

A bestselling scribe known internationally — “Silk” is translated in 27 languages — Baricco has left Rizzoli and partnered with the Fandango imprint that will publish his next novel, tentatively due out this summer.

To boot, Baricco has brought on board Rizzoli editorial chief Rosaria Carpinelli, who will run the Fandango Libri book operation and is likely to act as a magnet for other heavyweight authors.

“Fandango remains a company with film as its core business,” Procacci says. “But books — and I hope also our music side — are going to grow.” Started by Procacci five years ago, Fandango Libri has been a niche publisher of mostly non-Italian titles, including several novels by John Cheever, and David Foster Wallace’s meaty tome “Infinite Jest.”

Carpinelli will run the imprint’s new incarnation with editorial input from Baricco, but also from three other Italo writers — novelists Sandro Veronesi and Edoardo Nesi, and noir scribe Carlo Lucarelli — all of whom have become partners, each with a 10% stake, the remaining 60% being in Procacci’s possession. “I don’t think that a publishing house run by writers who are also part owners has ever existed before,” Procacci boasts.

The literature-loving producer intends his books unit to grow autonomously from Fandango’s film activities, with the editorial plan to be unveiled at the upcoming Turin book fair in May.

As for Fandango’s film side, besides “Silk,” Procacci has several other English-language projects prepping to shoot in 2005, including the previously announced “The Golden Gate” by Emanuele Crialese (“Respiro”), on which cameras should start rolling by summer.

The Ellis Island immigration drama is being co-produced by Fandango with Alexandre Mallet-Guy’s Paris-based Memento Films. Casting is still being decided. Also in pre-production is a new pic by Gabriele Muccino (“The Last Kiss”) who has penned a screenplay working-titled “Talk To Me About Love,” about an 18-year-old Italian girl’s quest for spirituality and sex in London. Pic will mark Muccino’s English-lingo feature film debut.

“Silk,” the fable-like tale of a 19th century silkworm trader — which had at one point been optioned by Miramax — is casting. It’s being co-produced by Fandango with Toronto-based producer Niv Fichman and London-based Nadine Luque.

The script is by Girard, whose helming credits besides “Violin” also include “Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould.” Procacci says the London connection he established last year when he became a controlling partner in Civilian Content — the shell comprising the Film Consortium and its sales unit the Works — has played an important part in developing these projects, which can access U.K. film funds. Fandango is also active in Oz, where helmer Rolf De Heer will start shooting his “Ten Canoes” set in an aboriginal community. Pic is produced by Fandango Australia.

In Italy, Procacci has first-timer Fausto Paravidino’s Piedmont countryside-set “Texas,” starring Valeria Golino, in principal photography, and new pics by Paolo Sorrentino (“The Consequences of Love”) and Matteo Garrone (“First Love”) in advanced script stage, both tentatively planned for a 2005 shoot.

Procacci recently hired former PolyGram Italy prexy Stefano Senardi to boost his Radio Fandango music label beyond publishing movie soundtracks.

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