'Miracle' takes place in World War II

ROME — Spike Lee will shoot an Italy-set World War II drama based on “Miracle at St. Anna,” U.S. author James McBride’s novel about black American soldiers fighting the German army in the mountains of Tuscany.

High-profile project about the true tale of four members of the U.S. Army’s 92nd Division of all-black soldiers, who in 1944 became trapped in a Tuscan village, as they contended with their racist, incompetent commanders and the Nazis, is being shepherded by Italian producers Luigi Musini and Roberto Cicutto.

“This is a big-budget project which will feature a mostly American cast,” Musini told Daily Variety, adding that negotiations are ongoing to bring international partners on board.

McBride, who besides “Miracle” is author of bestselling memoir “The Color of Water,” is penning the screenplay. Casting is being decided.

Plan is to start shooting next year on Tuscan WWII combat locations.

The Italo producers — who were sought by Spike Lee — recently set up a Milan-based production shingle dedicated to international productions called On My Own, an offshoot of Mikado, the arthouse outfit Musini and Cicutto ran for two decades before selling it to De Agostini last year.

Lee announced the project in a La Repubblica interview on Wednesday in which he lamented a lack of tributes in American movies to the sacrifices black men made during WWII.

“I met a black veteran who fought at Iwo Jima, and he told me how disappointed he was that there was not even one Afro-American (soldier) in Clint Eastwood’s two films,” Lee told the Italo newspaper.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more