×

A comic book about a chameleon-like master thief done as a live-action movie, a reinvention of the Spaghetti Western and a manhunt thriller with a Hollywood A-list cast are among buzz titles by Italian directors in various stages expected to soon be hitting the international festival circuit and, more important, entering the global movie market. Besides a shift toward genre moviemaking, they reflect a more international mindset while remaining firmly rooted in the Italian cinema canon.

“BORN TO BE MURDERED”
Luca Guadagnino is producing this English-language manhunt thriller directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino (“Antonia”), toplining John David Washington and Alicia Vikander as a couple vacationing in Greece who become enmeshed in a tragically violent conspiracy. Pic also boasts “Call Me by Your Name” lenser Sayombhu Mukdeeprom and editor Walter Fasano, as well as Oscar-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. In production.

“BAD DAYS”
Twins Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, who made a splash in Berlin two years ago with crime drama “Boys Cry,” which explores Rome’s criminal underworld through the prism of two street kids, are set to direct this dark fable set in the seaside outside Rome. Plot details are being kept under wraps other than it’s an ensemble movie with a dozen characters, half of which are kids between the ages of 10 and 13. Shooting is scheduled to start in July.

“DIABOLIK”
The Manetti brothers, whose Naples-set Mafia musical “Love and Bullets” was a critical darling in 2017 Venice and went on to win five David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s top film prizes, are set to shoot “Diabolik,” an adaptation of a popular Italian comic book about a master thief who takes on different identities and steals from other criminals. Dressed in a skintight black body suit, when not impersonating someone else with his set of lifelike masks, “Diabolik” is a quasi Robin Hood-like character who works with partner, and lover, Eva Kant. Their arch-enemy is a police inspector named Ginko. In pre-production.

“COLT”
Stefano Sollima (“Soldado”) will direct this high-profile English-language pic based on an idea developed by Sergio Leone centered around the six-shooter packed by Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars.” The gun, passed from one character to the next, is the narrative device for a fresh take on the Western genre. Leone’s children Andrea and Raffaella are producing through their Leone Film Group banner. In pre-production.

“HAMMAMET”
Gianni Amelio’s portrayal of the final years of Italy’s corruption tainted Socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi in the Tunisian seaside villa where he fled from Italian justice stars Pierfrancesco Favino, who will be in Cannes as protag of “The Traitor.” Thanks to prosthetics, the resemblance between the actor and the late Craxi is uncanny. In production.

“MARTIN EDEN”
Jack London’s novel about a young self-taught American sailor struggling to become a writer is being freely adapted and transposed to a fable-like 19th century Neapolitan setting by Pietro Marcello, who is known on the festival circuit for docu-fiction hybrids “Lost and Beautiful” and “The Mouth of the Wolf.” This is his bona fide fiction film debut. This unconventional costumer is co-written with Maurizio Braucci (“The Intruder,” “Piranhas”), shot in Naples and is already believed to have landed a Venice competition berth. In post.

“VIA DALL’ASPROMONTE”
Marcello Fonte, who won the best actor award in Cannes last year for “Dogman,” stars as a poet in a small town in Southern Italy in the 1950s where a woman dies of childbirth because there is no road to get her to the hospital. The locals decide to build one themselves, but the local mob boss isn’t pleased. Director Mimmo Calopresti has described it as a non-conventional Western. Cast also includes Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Francesco Colella and Sergio Rubini. The score is by Oscar-winner Nicola Piovani. In post.