Cruz, Kingsley reading up for Roth pic

Lakeshore Entertainment has set Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson to star in an untitled drama based on the Philip Roth novella “Dying Animal.”

Isabel Coixete (“The Secret Life of Words”) will direct; production begins in April in Vancouver.

Nicholas Meyer penned the script, having previously adapted Roth’s “The Human Stain” for Lakeshore. Story is about a student who engages in a torrid affair with her professor and then returns years later with a revelation.

Lakeshore’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi will produce, and the film will be distributed through their output deal with MGM. Lakeshore Intl. will distribute overseas, selling territories at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

Rosenberg said adapting Roth’s fiction has been a company priority, as Lakeshore is also prepping an adaptation of novel “American Pastoral” with director Phillip Noyce.

“He’s one of the great American writers, and this one is squarely an adult story, with the kind of erotic scenes that hark back to the films of the 1970s,” Rosenberg said.

Pic becomes the second that will be released through the MGM deal, as Lakeshore recently set Marc Schoelermann to direct “Pathology,” a thriller scripted by the “Crank” team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.

Cruz is coming off an Oscar-nominated performance in “Volver,” Kingsley will next be seen in the thriller “You Kill Me,” and Clarkson recently completed “Lars and the Real Girl.”

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