Star in talks for drama

Ralph Fiennes is in advanced discussions to topline James Foley’s fantasy drama-romance “Sands.”

Budgeted in the $15 million range, the project will be pitched at Berlin’s Capital Regions co-production meetings on Tuesday in Berlin.

Penned by novelist Renata Bovara, project centers on a New York couple — a surgeon and his wife — involved in an accident that leaves the woman in a coma. Caught between life and death, the woman’s spirit travels to India where she is drawn to an imaginary man. She must choose between her love for that man and her husband, who is desperate to bring her back to life.

Pic is produced by Paris-based Ava Films and co-produced by Phantom Colombia and HanWay Pictures in the U.K. and Germany-India joint venture Bombay Berlin Films. It will receive coin from Prime Focus.

A prominent Hollywood thesp will star opposite Fiennes, said producer Richard Paraiso, who runs Ava Films and Phantom Colombia. Paraiso added he was in talks with Lionsgate to take distribution rights for the U.S. and a string of other territories.

Lensing is expected to kick off between October and December. Filming will take place in Toronto, Reunion Island and India.

Foley recently helmed three episodes of Netflix’s original series, “House of Cards.”

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up U.S., Latin American and South African rights to Fiennes’ sophomore directorial outing “The Invisible Woman,” in which he also stars. Deal was closed Saturday at the European Film Market in Berlin, where CAA and WestEnd Films have been selling the pic.

Fiennes is repped by CAA.

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