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Malkovich, O’Toole join Ruiz pic

Lewis stars as knight in Charlemagne's court

LONDON — Helmer Raoul Ruiz has marshaled a cast headed by John Malkovich, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Peter O’Toole, Damian Lewis, Saffron Burrows and Virginie Ledoyen for his period epic “Love and Virtue,” about the battles that raged within King Charlemagne’s empire.

Brit thesp Lewis toplines as a knight in King Charlemagne’s court who falls for Ledoyen’s character. Malkovich and Madsen play barbarian marauders. Stephen Dillane (“The Hours”) plays Charlemagne, the first ruler of a united Western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire.

“Love and Virtue” is produced by Fountain of Life Productions from a script penned by Mia Sperber and Stefano Pratesi. The script is based on epic poems “The Song of Roland” and “Orlando Innamorato.”

Scribe Sperber produces for U.K.-based Fountain of Life alongside Alex Sullivan for the Leo Media and Entertainment Group. The co-producers are Jimmy de Brabant and Bob Bellion of Delux Productions and Kwesi Dickson of Future Films. John Daly exec produces.

The cast also includes Leonor Varela (“Blade II”), Vincent Perez (“Nouvelle-France”), Cristian de la Fuente (CSI: Miami”), Anna Massey (“The Importance of Being Earnest”) and child thesps Alexa Rey and Boo Boo Stewart.

“It is a pleasure to work with such an outstanding cast and team that has put its heart and mind into creating a feature of superb cinematography, stunning sets and costumes, and unforgettable music,” commented Ruiz.

“The dreamy, magical side of the characters does not detract from their authenticity, but rather enhances the chance that modern viewers will be able to identify with them given the current widespread mystical approach to life.”

The pic is scheduled to begin shooting March 21 on location in Belgium and Luxembourg before moving to London.

The project sees the Chilean helmer reteam with “Klimt” stars Malkovich, Burrows and Dillane.

London-based sales agents Intandem Films is handling international sales.

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