LONDON — Serbian director Emir Kusturica is planning to make a movie version of a “The Bridge on the Drina” by Nobel-prize winning Bosnian novelist Ivo Andric.

The novel — first published in 1945 — was a key reason behind Andric’s 1961 Nobel award for “the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country.”

The book explores four centuries in the lives of the Muslim and Orthodox Christian communities who live in and around the town of Visegrad, Eastern Bosnia, where an ancient stone bridge spans the river Drina. It begins during the days of Ottoman Turk rule and ends with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire’s rule of the region, sparked by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the outbreak of World War I.

Kusturica, who has the support of authorities in Serbia and the Republika Srpska — the Serb entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina — is urging Bosnia to back the project.

His plans include building an elaborate reconstruction of the historic town in which the novel’s events take place. It has been suggested the set could be turned into a tourist attraction later.

Kusturica, born in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, told Variety he planned to shoot after he completes his current project, “Pancho Villa” — a biopic about the Mexican revolutionary in which Johnny Depp is reported to be set to play the lead.