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Warners jumps for 2 Italo pix

'Ritorna' helmed by Rubini; 'Cielo' stars Scamarcio

Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. has come aboard to produce and distribute two more Italian-language pics, “L’Amore ritorna” (Love Returns) and “Tre metri sopra il cielo” (Three Steps Over Heaven), both shooting in Italy.

Pics are part of Warner Bros.’ local-language production activity in Italy, which has already spawned two pics, “Febbre da cavallo — La mandrakata,” directed by Carlo Vanzina, and “Ma che colpa abbiamo noi,” directed by Carlo Verdone.

“Ritorna,” being directed by Sergio Rubini, who also co-stars in the film, is being produced by BiancaFilm. Pic, which starts shooting Aug 18, is a comedic drama about a famous actor forced to reconsider his life and relationships after he is struck by a serious illness. Pic co-stars Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Margherita Buy and Giovanna Mezzogiorno.

“Cielo” marks the directorial debut of Luca Lucini and stars newcomers Riccardo Scamarcio, Katy Saunders, Mauro Meconi and Maria Chiara Augenti. Pic, a coming-of-age film in the vein of “Rebel Without a Cause,” starts shooting Sept. 8 in Rome.

“Our local production acquisitions and collaborations from earlier this year have performed very well for us and, with the topnotch caliber of these latest films, we have high expectations for continued success,” said Richard Fox, exec VP of international, Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Added Paolo Ferrari, managing director of Warner Bros. Pictures Italy: “We look forward to bringing these productions to Italy, especially in light of the successes of our first two collaborations.”

Warner Bros. also retains home video and international TV distribution rights to the pics.