Gabriel Byrne Book of Vision
T Roth/WireImage

Gabriel Byrne and Carice van Houten (“Game of Thrones”) are attached to star in “The Book of Vision,” a time-shifting fantasy/mystery centered around the history of the doctor/patient relationship that Italian helmer Carlo Hintermann will direct and Terrence Malick will executive produce.

Van Houten, who plays Melisandre in “Thrones,” will play Eva, an Italian doctor who decides to go study history of medicine at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md. There she discovers the information about an 18th century doctor in the Southern German city of Halle, which was then in the Prussian empire. Byrne will play the Prussian doctor, and will also play Eva’s doctor in the present day. The screenplay is by Hintermann and Marco Saura. The film will be in English.

“The narrative structure of the film is somewhat similar to ‘Cloud Atlas’: some characters from the past also reverberate in the present, and are played by the same actors,” said Hintermann.

“Vision” will be the full-fledged feature film debut for Hintermann, who previously made several docus, including English-language “The Dark Side of the Sun,” about Camp Sundown, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., that caters to children with xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare genetic disease that causes severe sun-sensitivity disorders. Hintermann also made docu “Rosy-Fingered Dawn: a Film on Terrence Malick,” which led to a collaboration with Malick, including a “Tree of Life” production credit for a brief “Tree” segment shot outside Rome. He is also the co-author of an upcoming book on Malick, to be published by Faber & Faber.

Budgeted at around $9 million, “Visions” is being co-produced by Citrullo Intl. — the shingle of the filmmakers’ collective that Hintermann belongs to — with Philipp Kreuzer’s Twiga Film for Germany and Malick exec producing. The plan is to start shooting in the spring of 2015 mostly in Germany with some externals done in the U.S. and an initial prologue in Italy.

Citrullo is in final talks with both an Italian and also an international distributor.

Hintermann said that Malick has been involved in the project from the outset and helped assemble a top-notch team comprising ace cinematographer Joerg Widmer, set designers Matthias Klemme and David Crank, and veteran casting director Dianne Crittenden.

“It’s a film about the richness of life and the surprise that sometimes springs from seeing fantastic things within the cracks of reality,” said Hintermann.

Hintermann and one of his Citrullo partners, Gerardo Panichi, are at Venice as co-producers of Amos Gitai’s “Tsili,” screening out of competition, and Amir Naderi’s upcoming Italy-set “Monte,” which is at the Venice European Gap Financing Co-Production market.

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