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John Goodman returns to ‘Joan’

Actor settles dispute with Constantin

BERLIN — John Goodman has returned to star in Soenke Wortmann’s medieval drama “Pope Joan” after settling a legal dispute with Constantin Film.

Australian thesp David Wenham (“300”) has also signed on to the pic, which recounts the 9th-century legend of a woman who, disguised as a man, manages to ascend the papal throne.

Johanna Wokalek (“Der Baader Meinhof Komplex”), who replaced Franka Potente earlier this year, toplines the adaptation of Donna Woolfolk Cross’ 1997 bestseller.

Constantin, which filed a $3 million lawsuit against Goodman last year, said in a statement that the case had been settled, with the parties agreeing not to comment or disclose terms of the agreement.

Goodman, who most recently appeared in “Speed Racer,” stars as Pope Sergius, while the busy Wenham, who appears in Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” and Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia,” plays Gerold, a kind knight who becomes Joan’s greatest love.

The film is set to start shooting next month in the German states of Saxony-Anhalt and North Rhine-Westphalia as well as in Morocco.

“Pope Joan” has suffered a number of setbacks over the years, most recently in 2007 when Goodman’s abrupt withdrawal forced Constantin to postpone the production. Later that year Constantin sacked the pic’s original director, Volker Schloendorff, after he publicly criticized the industry’s practice of making extended TV versions of feature films — a strategy often employed by Constantin on its major productions.

Schloendorff had originally intended to shoot the film in 2002 for UFA Filmproduktion and Senator Film, but the project was shelved after Senator filed for bankruptcy.

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