‘Heart’ beats for Greene

Scorsese plays role with adaptation; MacPherson to script

Martin Scorsese will develop as a potential directing project “The Heart of the Matter,” a Graham Greene novel to be scripted by Don MacPherson. Scorsese will produce with Barbara DeFina, his longtime partner in Cappa/DeFina.

Susan Adler will be involved in a producing capacity, and the script development will be financed by StudioCanal, which owns the rights to the original 1953 film adaptation.

Greene wrote the novel in 1948, and Scorsese read it as a young man and never forgot it. Like Greene’s “The Quiet American,” it revolves around a secure, mature man living in a place far from home who is plunged into moral crisis by passion.

Story concerns a scrupulously honest, married Catholic police official serving in a West African country during wartime who gets into trouble when he falls in love with another woman while attempting to break up a diamond smuggling operation. Before he knows it, the man has borrowed money from a blackmailer, he’s sent his wife away on vacation, and he’s in way over his head.

MacPherson’s credits include “The Avengers” and “Absolute Beginners.” He was brought aboard by producer Terrence Malick and Intermedia several years ago to adapt the Greene novel “Brighton Rock.”

Scorsese and DeFina got the project started by approaching StudioCanal for the remake rights.

Though StudioCanal has minimized its direct involvement with international productions, a deal was struck whereby the company will finance the initial development of a script.

It’s unclear whether StudioCanal will be an active partner in the production.

Scorsese just wrapped Howard Hughes pic “The Aviator” for IEG, Warner Bros. and Miramax, with Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” star Leonardo DiCaprio playing the title character.