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RIO DE JANEIRO — Stellan Skarsgard and Joaquim de Almeida are set to star in Canadian helmer Sylvain Archambault’s “Rouge Bresil,” based on Jean-Christophe Rufin’s 2001 historical bestseller.

The $11 million project has been set up as an indie international co-production involving France, Brazil, Canada and Portugal, which will create a Portuguese/English-language feature and an English-language TV series with two episodes of 100 minutes (Daily Variety, May 16).

Story is set in France Antarctique, established in 1555 in the coastal region where Rio de Janeiro is now located. A haven for French Protestant Huguenots, who fled religious wars in France, the colony was ultimately leveled by the Portuguese in 1567.

Skarsgard plays French explorer Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon, with de Almeida as his rival.

“It shows the absurdity of religious wars. When you become a fundamentalist, it is bad for everybody,” said exec producer Nicolas Traube, partner and president of Paris-based lead producer Pampa and former head of drama for pubcaster channel France 2.

Pampa is partnering with Brazil’s Conspiracao to produce the TV series and feature, which starts filming on Monday in Rio state and should be finished in the second quarter of 2012.

According to Traube, France 2 is the leading investor on the Gallic side and is due to air the French language-dubbed series in the second half of next year.

The leading Brazilian investors are TV Globo’s theatrical arm, Globo Filmes, and Rio government’s film company RioFilme.

Luiz Noronha, Conspiracao partner and director for TV productions, said TV Globo has the first option to buy and air a Portuguese-dubbed version of the series.

“In the most likely scenario, we will first release the feature in the Brazilian theatrical market, then Globo will air the series,” said Noronha, adding Conspiracao is negotiating the Brazilian theatrical distribution rights with indie distrib Downtown.