‘Belle’ ringing for Martinez, Watling

Thesp pair to star in adaptation

Olivier Martinez and Leonor Watling are attached to topline a E10 million ($12.7 million) English-lingo adaptation of the cult French novel “Belle du Seigneur.”

Pic which is slated to begin shooting in October in Switzerland, Italy and Germany will be helmed by first timer Glenio Bonder and is produced by the U.K.’s Pot Boiler, with Simon Channing-Williams and Gail Egan producing.

Co-producer Thierry de Navacelle, of Gallic company TNVO, originated the project with Bonder.

Alfred Huermer of Germany’s Integral and Jean Marc Henchot of Swiss shingle JMH are also co-producing.

Daniel Marquet, of Groupe 1, behind the international financing of Gallic Oscar nominee “Merry Christmas,” mounted the co-production and is handling international sales.

Considered to be Franco-Swiss writer Albert Cohen’s greatest book, “Belle du Seigneur,” written in 1968, charts the tortured love affair between Solal, a high-ranking Jewish League of Nations official and the protestant wife of one of his underlings.

The book sold more than 1 million copies in Europe and won the Academie Francaise’s Novel Grand Prix.

Bonder’s version will be the first time “Belle de Seigneur” is brought to the bigscreen, because the late author’s family had previously refused to sell the rights.

Over the course of five years, Bonder, a Brazilian with an international background similar to Cohen’s own, persuaded the author’s widow that he was the right man for the job.

Project was originally conceived as a French lingo film but morphed into an English project when Pot Boiler came on board last year.

Bonder, said on Thursday. “In English it can be a freer adaptation than if it were in the original French.”

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