Pic to explore euthanasia

Italo helmer Marco Bellocchio (“Vincere”) will return behind the camera with euthanasia-themed “La bella addormentata” (Sleeping Beauty).

Bellocchio has shelved his previously announced “La monaca di bobbio,” which centered on a transgressive nun.

“Bella” takes its cue from Italy’s Eluana Englaro right-to-die case, in which a woman spent 17 years in a vegetative state, sparking a controversy similar to the Terri Schiavo case in the U.S.

One storyline, which gives the film its title, involves a past-her-prime movie star who keeps her beautiful daughter alive artificially inside their home. Another depicts a doctor’s fight to keep a suicidal drug-addicted young woman alive.

Scribe Stefano Rulli (“The Best of Youth”) and novelist Veronica Raimo are co-penning the screenplay with the helmer.

Cattleya, the Rome shingle in which Universal holds a stake, is producing. Pic is likely to be an Italy-France co-production, with RAI Cinema set to board as Italo distributor.

Casting will start shortly, with plans to shoot in Italy in January or February.”Marco is in a moment of grace,” said Cattleya topper Riccardo Tozzi. “I have been wanting to work with him for many years.”

Bellocchio will be feted by the Venice fest with a Golden Lion career nod, reflecting the recent success of “Vincere,” a global arthouse hit released stateside by IFC.

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