Universal specialty film arm Focus Features is partnering with South Korean shingle LJ Film to produce “The Julia Project” (working title), a $20 million-$25 million biopic of Julia Mullock, an American interior designer who married the last crown prince of Korea.
Coin for the project will be sourced evenly from Focus and LJ Film America, an affiliate of LJ Film, which in turn is owned by Korean mini-conglom Prime Entertainment.
Focus will retain foreign rights to the primarily English-language pic, while Lee Seung-jae and Kim So-hee of LJ will receive producer credits.
Mullock met her late husband, Kyu Lee, in New York in the 1950s, after Japanese colonization and subsequent independence had removed the royal family from any official function in Korea. After marrying, the couple lived in Hawaii and then moved to Seoul. In 1982, Lee divorced Mullock under pressure from his family due to the lack of an heir. He died last year; she lives in Hawaii.
Pic will lense in the latter half of this year, with a release eyed for 2007.
A director has yet to be attached.
Mullock is cooperating with the project, and a screenwriter is expected to come aboard shortly.
“LJ and Focus share the common goal of introducing new voices to the world film community,” LJ prexy Lee Seung-jae said.
Focus had success with international thriller “The Constant Gardener” last year.
Shingle also has in development bigscreen adaptations of Yasmina Khadra’s Tel Aviv-set “The Attack” and Bob Drogin’s Iraqi war pic “Curveball.”