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‘Ladies’ to lense April 13

Malkovich, Scacchi, Bracco to star in Canuck-Brit prod'n

MONTREAL — Lensing is set to kick off here April 13 on the femme-themed pic “Ladies Room,” a Canadian-British co-production toplining John Malkovich, Greta Scacchi, Lorraine Bracco, German thesp Veronica Ferres (“Rossini”) and Canuck Genie Award-winner Molly Parker (“Kissed”).

The comedy, set in the bathrooms of a sumptuous opera-house, marks the fiction feature directorial debut of Gabriella Cristiani, a seasoned Italian-born editor who won an Oscar in 1987 for her editing on “The Last Emperor.” Cristiani has collaborated frequently with Bernardo Bertolucci and has directed two documentaries, “Desert Roses — The Making of ‘Sheltering Sky’ ” and “Writing With Lights,” a biopic of photographer Vittorio Storaro.

The modestly budgeted “Ladies Room” is being produced by Claude Leger of Transfilm, Tony Roman of Cine-Roman, Rene Malo of Laurem Prods. and British partner Jonathan Vanger of Smallrain. The pic is Malo’s first production venture since selling his controlling interest in Canadian production house and distributor Malofilm Communications two years ago. Leger is also the co-producer of “Grey Owl,” another Canadian-British venture directed by Richard Attenborough, penned by British scribe William Nicholson (“Nell”), and toplining Pierce Brosnan. “Grey Owl” is being produced by Attenborough, Leger and Jake Eberts.

Much of the action in “Ladies Room” takes place in the ladies room, with women baring their souls to each other with lots of chatter about love, sex and men. The script, inspired by Bellini’s opera “Beatrice Di Tenda,” was co-written by Montreal screenwriters Leila Basen, Andree Pelletier, Genevieve Lefebvre, Natalina Di Leandro and Amanda Roberts, based on an idea by Roman. Malkovich plays a millionaire in trouble with both his wife (Scacchi) and his mistress (Ferres), who bond in the bathroom.

“There aren’t that many films by and about women,” said Leger. “For once, it’s not focused on the men. But it will be interesting for men as well because men are very curious to know what women are talking about behind closed doors.”

Showcase Entertainment of Los Angeles is handling international sales, with the global sales effort set to kick-off at the upcoming Cannes film market. Montreal-based Motion Intl. will be distributing the pic in Canada.

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