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Paskaljevic sows actors for ‘Tree’

Prod'n companies team to make Irish tale

ROME — Peter Mullan, Ian Hart and Colm Meaney have committed to star in “How Harry Became a Tree,” the first English-language feature from Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic, which starts shooting in early October in the Irish village of Hollywood, near Dublin.

Riccardo Tozzi and Marco Chimenz are producing through their Rome-based Cattleya company. Co-producers are Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre for Paris-based Mact Prods.; Liam O’Neill for Paradox Pictures, Dublin; and Clive Parsons for U.K. outfit Film and General, which also teamed with Cattleya on Franco Zeffirelli’s “Tea With Mussolini.”

“Harry” is a comic parable about hate, and the clash between traditional culture and modernization that takes place in an Irish village in the 1930s. A metaphor for the Balkan conflict, the story was adapted by Paskaljevic, Christine Gentlet and Stephen Walsh from a Chinese novella.

Shooting on the $6 million production will continue for eight weeks in Ireland on and around a cabbage field planted by the production, which has prompted director Paskaljevic to dub the quaintly named location, “Hollywood, capital of chou-business.”

Paskaljevic’s previous films include the 1998 feature “The Powder Keg” (aka “Cabaret Balkan”), which was released in the U.S. by Paramount Classics, and “Someone Else’s America,” which premiered in the 1995 Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Intl. Film Festival.

Making ‘Name’ as actor

Thesp Mullan won the actor honor at Cannes in 1998 for “My Name is Joe.” He starred in Mike Figgis’ “Miss Julie” and made his debut as writer-director with the 1998 feature “Orphans.”

Hart’s credits include “The End of the Affair” and “Wonderland.” He stars in Stephen Frears’ “Liam,” which will premiere in competition next month at the Venice Intl. Film Festival.

Meaney is a vet of “Star Trek” TV shows and appeared in a trio of pics based on books by Irish writer Roddy Doyle, among others.

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