Turturro’s ‘Illuminata’ pegs Walken to co-star

Christopher Walken has been tapped to co-star in “Illuminata,” the erotic farce set in 19th century Italy and penned by Brandon Cole and John Turturro. Sources said the deal closed late Friday.

Walken will play flamboyant theater critic Umberto Bevalaqua in the Miramax film that also stars Turturro, Susan Sarandon and Ben Gazzara.

The pic centers on the events surrounding the opening night of an eagerly awaited play.

As members of a theater company explore the varying aspects of love and betrayal, the relationship between the playwright and the leading lady is restored following the audience’s reception to the play.

The Turturro-directed pic has begun lensing in New York and is being produced by John Penotti’s Greenstreet Films.

Financed by Overseas Film Group in a joint-venture with Italy’s CDI, pic reunites Cole and Turturro, who co-wrote “Mac,” the Camera d’Or winner at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. Turturro also directed and starred in the pic.

Walken, who has five films in the distribution hopper, will be seen next month in Columbia’s “Excess Baggage,” the Alicia Silverstone starrer marking the first pic produced and released under the star’s mega-production deal with the studio.

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