Deneuve moves to ‘Palais’

Thesp to play queen of a northern European country

Catherine Deneuve will topline French comic Valerie Lemercier’s “Palais Royal,” a comedy set in the world of Euro-royalty. Budgeted at e13 million-e14 million ($15.5 million-$16.6 million), pic also will star Lemercier, Lambert Wilson, Mathilde Seigner, Michel Aumont and Roschdy Zem.

Deneuve will play the queen of an unidentified northern European country, with Lermercier her princess daughter.

Produced by Edouard Weil and Xavier Giannoli’s Rectangle Films and Lemercier’s De l’Huile Prods., pic will shoot in France, England and Scotland starting in August.

The film is being co-produced by Haystack in the U.K., and discussions are under way to bring on board am Italian co-producer.

Rectangle has a number of other hot projects on its slate, including the Nathalie Baye/Samuel Le Bihan starrer “Chemin sans issue,” a $5.35 million film that will be helmed by vet screenwriter Jacques Fieschi. Originally co-developed with StudioCanal for Andre Techine, the pic will be co-produced by Christine Gozland and is scheduled to start shooting in February.

Weil is in pre-production on the next film by Bertrand Bonnello, a contempo love story called “The Death of Laura Markovitch.” And Olivier Assayas, in competition this year with “Clean,” has begun work on his next script for a movie that will star Daniel Auteuil and will shoot in a provincial French town in early 2005.

The company also is developing Leos Carax’s “Scars,” an international co-prod being handled by Wild Bunch.