Gabriele Muccino
AGF s.r.l./REX Shutterstock

Italian helmer Gabriele Muccino is in talks to direct the erotic thriller “Laughter in the Dark,” based on the Vladimir Nabokov novel.

Muccino, whose credits include “Playing for Keeps,” “Seven Pounds” and “The Pursuit of Happyness,” will direct from a script by newcomers Bradley McManus and Justin Parker.

Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell of Stone Village Productions will produce with Sander Soeth of Intuit Films. Stone Village has partnered with investment firm Source Rock Partners to finance the pic.

The story follows a wealthy art dealer and family man who falls in love with an aspiring actress who becomes his muse.  When he leaves his wife and family for her, his life spins out of control.

Casting is starting immediately for a mid May start in New York.

“Laughter in the Dark” was first published in 1932. It was the basis of a 1969 French-British drama directed by Tony Richardson and starring Nicol Williamson and Anna Karina. Williamson was brought in as a late replacement for Richard Burton due to Richardson’s displeasure for Burton’s lack of punctuality.

For the 1969 film, the story’s setting was changed from 1930s Berlin to 1960s London. The new film will have a contemporary setting.

Steindorff’s producing credits include Jon Favreau’s “Chef,” “Jane Got a Gun,” “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “The Lincoln Lawyer” and the HBO miniseries “Empire Falls.”

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