Michael Radford will direct New Orleans-set redo

Il Postino” helmer Michael Radford is set to direct Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer in the English-language remake of Spanish-Argentine film audience pleaser “Elsa & Fred.”

Set in New Orleans, the romantic comedy stars MacLaine as Elsa, a gregarious fun-loving retiree, who takes a shine to a Plummer’s character, a stick-in-the-mud widower, Fred, who moves into her apartment building, but just wants to be left alone.

Written by Radford and writing partner Anna Pavignano (“Casomai,” “Il Postino”), Radford’s remake adapts Argentinean’s Marcos Carnevale’s original film that, distinguished by the central performances of actors China Zorilla and Manuel Alexandre, proved a sleeper in Argentina, and broke out to business across Latin America. It is little known beyond the Spanish-language market, however.

“I am thrilled to be working with two of the greatest screen actors in the history of cinema, and Ed Saxon is a joy to work with,” said Radford.

“I’m pinching myself; as getting the chance to work with Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, and Michael Radford is a producer‘s dream come true,” said Ed Saxon, an Academy Award winner for “The Silence of the Lambs,” who produces with Mexican actor Ricardo Kleimbaum and vet producer Matthias Ehrenberg (“Sex, Shame and Tears”) and Argentinean producers Nicolas Veinberg and Jose Levy.

Principal photography begins Dec. 3, with the film shooting in New Orleans and Rome.

Financing is being packaged by Cuatro Plus Films, Defiant Pictures, Mexico’s Rio Negro Producciones and Media House Capital.

Soon featured in Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Maclaine is repped by ICM Partners.

Plummer, who will soon appear in Stephen Frear’s “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” for HBO, is repped by ICM Partners and the Pitt Group.

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