Bille August pic is based on Pascal Mercier novel

AMSTERDAM — Jeremy Irons has boarded Bille August’s “Night Train to Lisbon,” an adaptation of Pascal Mercier’s bestselling novel.

The pic, co-produced by Studio Hamburg Production and Zurich-based C-Films, follows a Swiss professor of classical languages who, after a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman, quits his job and travels to Lisbon in the hope of discovering the fate of a certain author, a doctor and poet who fought against Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

The film has secured some $2.9 million so far from Eurimages, as well as from federal and regional funds in Germany, including $427,000 from regional funder Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

Irons recently starred in Neil Jordan’s TV series “The Borgias,” and is filming Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal’s thriller “The Words” with Bradley Cooper.

The Medienboard is also backing Matthias Schweighoefer’s “Schlussmacher,” in which the German thesp-turned-director stars as an employee of a professional “separation agency” that helps couples break up, and who embarks on his toughest assignment yet, helping his own parents part ways.

The Medienboard is backing the pic with $570,000; Schweighoefer’s Berlin-based Pantaleon Entertainement is producing.

Schweighoefer next appears in his upcoming directorial debut and Fox co-production “What a Man,” as well as in Paramount’s local comedy “Russendisko,” by Oliver Ziegenbalg, and Universal’s “Rubbeldiekatz,” by Detlev Buck.

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