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Sylvain Chomet Steps Up for ‘The Thousand Miles’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Italian prince Emanuele Filiberto set to take the lead role

ANNECY — Sylvain Chomet, the Oscar-nominated French director of “The Illusionist” (pictured above) and “The Triplets of Belleville,” is moving forward with “The Thousand Miles,” teaming with London-based studio Th1ng to create the animation.

Developed and produced by U.K. outfit Savoy & Gregory, “Thousand Miles” is inspired by various works and unpublished writings/drawings of Federico Fellini. Demian Gregory and Tommaso Rossellini co-wrote the screenplay.

Italian prince Emanuele Filiberto will topline as a middle-aged count who takes part in Le Mille Miglia (the thousand mile), one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious car races. The journey transforms into a magical odyssey during which the count reminisces on his youth and life experiences.

The film will weave live action and hand-drawn animation to portray the count’s souvenirs, explained Chomet.

Filiberto will lend his voice, image to the film and will star in the live action scenes.

The cast will be completed with international stars, while secondary roles will likely be held by Italian actors.

“My creative vision has been constantly fuelled by two extraordinary filmmakers: Jacques Tati and Federico Fellini. With ‘The Illusionist’, I had the opportunity to directly explore my love for the work of Tati. Now, with ‘The Thousand Miles’, I can do just that with the magical world of Fellini,” said Chomet.

“I’ve always been very inspired by stories that explore childhood and the imaginary,” added Chomet. “Although the film is not a biopic, it explores the imagination of Fellini and sheds light on his talent in drawing.”

Gregory said “the story evolved from a very spontaneous series of conversations with Tommaso [Rossellini].”

A segment of the film will be shot at Stage 5 in Cinecitta Studios. The 75-year old film studio is also where Fellini shot a number of his most celebrated films, notably “La Dolce Vita” and “8 ½.”

Chomet, who made his live-action debut with last year’s “Attila Marcel,” previously collaborated with Th1ng to create his own take on “The Simpsons”‘s couch gag, which is featured in the credits.

Now in pre-production, “The Thousand Miles” is expected to go into production in early 2015.

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