Thomas assembling financing for drama

ROME — Bernardo Bertolucci will return to the director’s chair to shoot an untitled English-language drama centered on the emotionally turbulent life of 16th-century Italo musician and murderer Gesualdo da Venosa.

Bertolucci’s longtime producer Jeremy Thomas is assembling financing for the costumer, which he describes as “an epic story” about a character “hidden from history” similar to Bertolucci’s “The Last Emperor.”

Long-gestating pic with a substantial musical component centered on the composer — whose creativity soared as he suffered terribly over having killed his first wife and her lover — is being penned by Bertolucci with “Last Emperor” scribe Mark Peploe.

A first draft by Peploe for the project, originally titled “Heaven and Hell,” has been radically redone, Thomas said. Pic has no cast or studio attached.

“The only things that are sure are that I’m involved, Bernardo’s involved, and Mark’s involved,” Thomas told Daily Variety.

Bertolucci’s previously announced South America-set film “Bel Canto” has now been put on indefinite hold.

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