Eduard Limonov
Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Italo helmer Saverio Costanzo (“Private,” “The Solitude of Prime Numbers”) will helm “Limonov,” an adaptation of the eponymous bestseller by Gallic author Emmanuele Carrere depicting the adventurous life of Russian poet and leading Vladimir Putin opponent Eduard Limonov.

High-profile English-language pic is being produced by Mario Gianani in and Lorenzo Mieli’s Wildside shingle in association with RAI Cinema.

They emerged winners of a bidding war for rights to the hot tome, which took Gaul’s Prix Renaudot in 2011. Both Carrere and Limonov are on board as consultants. Deal was sealed with Francois Samuelson of Gaul’s Intertalent agency, who is both Carrere and Limonov’s agent.

Book has been a big seller in France and Italy and will soon be published in the U.S.

Limonov was a Soviet underground idol under Leonid Brezhnev; a butler to a millionaire in Manhattan; a writer in Paris; and now he is the charismic leader of Russia’s National Bolshevik Party.

The plan is to start shooting in the second half 2014 with an U.S. thesp as protag.

Locations will include the Russia, New York and Paris.

Costanzo, a prominent Italo helmer, is penning a first treatment of the book, with input from Carrere.

Limonov will also have his say on the script and will be the subject of a docu that will be a companion piece to the biopic.

At Cannes, Wildside and RAI Cinema are seeking international co-producers, starting with France, and also a potential international sales agent for presales.

“RAI Cinema needs to make more high-profile movies by Italian directors that can travel around the world,” said topper Paolo Del Brocco.

Budget will be in the $15 million-$20 million range.

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