Original cast in place

ROME — Helmer Gabriele Muccino will return to his Italian roots after a Hollywood stint with a sequel to his breakout hit “L’Ultimo Bacio” (The Last Kiss), for which the original ensemble cast has been re-enlisted.

Working-titled “Baciami Ancora,” or “Kiss Me Again,” Muccino’s first Italo pic since teaming up with Will Smith on “The Pursuit of Happyness” and, more recently, “Seven Pounds,” will catch up 10 years later with the bunch of Roman thirtysomethings who didn’t want grow up in “Bacio.”

Shooting is scheduled for spring in Rome. Muccino’s regular Italo producer, Domenico Procacci, is shepherding via his Fandango shingle while Medusa will be distributing in Italy with an expected January 2010 release date. International distribution is still being decided.

“Gabriele had been mulling a ‘Bacio’ sequel for a long time, but until now his American adventure forced him to keep it on the back burner,” Medusa topper Giampaolo Letta told Daily Variety.

Letta confirmed that the original cast of “L’Ultimo Bacio” is on board, including Stefano Accorsi, who plays central character Carlo, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, who in “Bacio” plays Carlo’s femme companion, Giulia, and Carlo’s then juvenile buddies played by Giorgio Pasotti, Claudio Santamaria and Pierfrancesco Favino.

In 2001, when “Bacio” became Italy’s top-grossing local film and subsequently gained Muccino international acclaim, the pic’s cast constituted an Italo brat-pack whose star status has also since grown considerably.

A U.S. remake of “The Last Kiss” was helmed in 2006 by Tony Goldwyn with Zach Braff as the lead, produced by Lakeshore.

Muccino is penning the screenplay for “Kiss Me Again” from a treatment by Italo scribe duo Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, which sees the original characters transformed from simpatico slackers trying to prolong their youth to more hardened adults pushing 50.

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