Fine young cannibal

Producer, novelist Harris developing Lecter prequel

Among the properties Dino De Laurentiis intends to peddle at Cannes next week is another Hannibal Lecter film.

With a working title of “The Lecter Variations: The Story of Young Hannibal,” De Laurentiis has been working on a prequel with novelist Thomas Harris, who created the Lecter character. The two have been developing a story of Lecter as a boy who is born in Lithuania, moves to Paris and finally comes to the U.S.

Harris is writing the “Young Hannibal” script himself. Previously in the series, Ted Tally (“Silence of the Lambs,” “Red Dragon”) and David Mamet (“Hannibal”) have adapted Harris’ novels.

Universal, which distributed “Hannibal” internationally, had worldwide on “Red Dragon” and has a pact with De Laurentiis, would likely co-produce the film.

“It’s a development deal at this point,” said a studio rep. “We’ve agreed to give it a shot, and we’re hoping to move forward.”

Studio also indicated that if the project goes forward, U would likely team with MGM as it had on both “Red Dragon” and “Hannibal.”

U co-prexy of production Mary Parent oversaw “Hannibal” and “Red Dragon,” and she is keeping an eye on the “Young Hannibal” project.

In Cannes, De Laurentiis will also be selling territories for Baz Luhrmann’s “Alexander the Great” (Daily Variety, May 6), which a source close to De Laurentiis says is currently the producer’s highest priority.

De Laurentiis will also sell territories for “Last Legion,” a film by Carlo Carlei, in which a group of Roman legionnaires are dispatched to Britain to rescue the young kidnapped emperor.

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