Franco-Russian helmer Pavel Lungin (“Taxi Blues”) is prepping English-language pic “Lilacs” on the life of Russian-American composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Filming on the $10 million pic, from a script by Lucinda Coxon (“The Heart of Me”), begins in August in St. Petersburg and Spain.
It’s the latest venture from Russian-Luxemburg production company Thema Prods. under Michael Dounaev, and its U.K. offshoot, Thema London, headed by Kami Naghdi.
Thema has yet to confirm co-producers and final casting.
In April, Thema finished shooting its 1946 post-WWII drama “In Transit,” starring John Malkovich, Germany’s Thomas Kretchman and Daniel Bruehl.
” ‘Lilacs’ will appeal to a broad audience, since it is not a biopic, but a modern love story,” said Lungin, whose last pic was “Roots,” released in Russia last year. “Rachmaninoff’s music, which is known by a broad audience after such films as ‘Shine,’ will help the film enormously.”
Thema is partnering with the Rachmaninoff Conservatory, founded by the composer in Paris, and with piano company Steinway & Sons, which helped promote “Shine” worldwide.
Thema will open its own seven-stage St. Petersburg studio later this year, and is pioneering integration of Russian production spend into the European and world system.
Thema’s 2006 projects include helmer Steve Surjic’s “I Want Candy,” starring Carmen Electra; and helmer Bille August’s “Goodbye Bafana,” the Nelson Mandela story, featuring Joseph Fiennes, per Naghdi.