Trio flies with ‘Birds’ right

Pic's budget likely north of $40 mil

CANNES — A trio of European producers have optioned movie adaptation rights to “Birds Without Wings,” a Turkey- and Italy-set epic by Louis De Bernieres, author of bestseller “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.”

Consortium is headed by San Fu Maltha, former prexy of Benelux distributor A Film, now concentrating on production through his Fu Works shingle and currently in post-production on Paul Verhoeven’s “Blackbook.” He is teamed with Turkish producers Yusuf Karabol of Umut Sanat and Mehmet Soyarslan of Ozen Film.

Pic is likely to be budgeted north of $40 million, according to Maltha. Start date is not yet skedded, but pic will likely shoot on location in Turkey. Producers are currently packaging scripter and helmer.

Novel, published in 2004, is set at the beginning of the 20th century when the Ottoman Empire was in final collapse. Story chronicles the catastrophic side effect of politics on the Greek, Turk and Armenian people at the mercy of events they have very little control over.

“Corelli” was directed by John Madden for Working Title Films with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz as stars.

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