Javier Bardem and Anthony Hopkins are in negotiations to star Miramax Films’ “Edgardo Mortara” for helmer Damien O’Donnell and Film Four. Pic is set for a fall start.

Set in June 1858, pic is a drama based on the true story of how police in Bologna, Italy, tore a 6-year-old Jewish boy away from his parents. According to the police, he had been secretly baptized by a Gentile servant girl years before.

He was removed from his family in accordance with a law forbidding “Christian” children from being raised by Jews. This began his strange odyssey, which had powerful consequences for the future of both the Italian nation and the Catholic Church.

FilmFour developed the project with producer Julia Chasman and Industry Entertainment’s Nick Wechsler. Script is by Rob Eshman, with revisions by Jeremy Brock (“Charlotte Gray”).

Bardem, repped by UTA, will next be seen in John Malkovich’s directorial debut, “The Dancer Upstairs.” He received a best actor Oscar nomination for his performance in “Before Night Falls.”

Hopkins, repped by CAA, will next be seen in “Bad Company” and “Red Dragon.”