‘Versailles’ Star George Blagden Set for Movie Musical ‘The Land of Dreams’ (EXCLUSIVE)

British actor George Blagden, who played Louis XIV in period drama “Versailles,” has been cast opposite Belarussian actress and model Caterina Shulha (“Hotel Gagarin”) in “The Land of Dreams,” an English-language movie musical set in 1920s New York being produced by Italy’s Leone Film Group for the international market.

Shooting has just started at Bulgaria’s Nu Boyana Film Studios on the ambitious and unusual pic being directed by Italian newcomer Nicola Abbatangelo. Producer Marco Belardi, who heads Leone group’s Lotus Production shingle, decided to take a gamble on the project after being impressed by a 20-minute short directed by Abbatangelo, which the feature will expand on.

Until a few years ago, musicals did not get much traction in Italy, but that changed with Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” which opened the 2016 Venice Film Festival and proved a hit for Leone, its Italian distributor.

An eight-week shoot is planned on “Land of Dreams” which is described as a love story between Eva (Shulha), a young immigrant who works as a dishwasher and dreams of becoming a singer, and Armie (Blagden), a virtuoso pianist with a fervid imagination, according to the film’s synopsis. The romance takes place against a backdrop of New York just before the Great Depression, a “time of music, hope and big changes,” the synopsis says.

Popular on Variety

The original music and songs are by Italian composer Fabrizio Mancinelli, who conducted the “Green Book” score. Bulgaria-based Antonello Rubino (“Mechanic: Resurrection”) is the production designer. Britain’s Oke Wambu choreographs.

Rounding out the cast are Scottish actor Kevin Guthrie (“Dunkirk”), Italy’s Edoardo Pesce (“Dogman”), and British actor-singer Nathan Amzi (“Good Omens”), among other talents.

“The Land of Dreams” is being produced by Lotus Production/Leone Film Group with RAI Cinema and 3 Marys Entertainment.

Leone Film Group has another previously announced project for the international market: English-language Western “Colt,” based on an idea developed by Sergio Leone about the six-shooter packed by Clint Eastwood in “For a Fistful of Dollars.” The plan is to start shooting “Colt” in Canada in the first few months of 2020 with Stefano Sollima (“Sicario: Day of the Soldado”) directing from a screenplay by U.S. author and screenwriter Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River,” “The Wire”).

More Film

  • Andy SambergVariety Sundance Studio presented by

    Andy Samberg Calls Hosting the Oscars a 'Bad Gig' -- That He'd Still Consider

    Andy Samberg has been a reliable favorite hosting awards ceremonies, in recent years emceeing the Independent Spirit Awards, the Emmys and the 2019 Golden Globes with Sandra Oh. So it’s only natural to wonder if Samberg would consider taking the reins on the Oscars, which will return again this year without a host. “They have [...]

  • Shirley

    'Shirley': Film Review

    Shirley Jackson was a real person, a writer best known for her twisted short story “The Lottery,” although the version presented in Josephine Decker’s “Shirley” feels more like a character from one of her own novels. Featuring “The Handsmaid’s Tale” actor Elisabeth Moss in the title role, this queer, hard-to-quantify psychological study isn’t a biopic [...]

  • Us Kids

    'Us Kids': Film Review

    The nonstop drama of the Trump White House has succeeded, among other things, in largely pushing gun control from the forefront of the news cycle — no doubt to the relief of the NRA and its allies, despite the continued frequency of U.S. mass shootings. As a result, and perhaps unfairly, Kim A. Snyder’s “Us [...]

  • Logan Paul Ninja Spree

    How Logan Paul and Ninja Helped 'Spree' Cast Capture Influencer Culture Gone Wild

    When it came to depicting the gonzo nature of influencer culture, “Spree” stars Joe Keery and Sasheer Zamata and director Eugene Kotlyarenko did a deep dive into the haves and have-nots of the internet. “Spree,” which premiered Friday at Sundance Film Festival, follows a rideshare driver named Kurt Kunkle (Keery) who will stop at nothing [...]

  • The Go Go's at Chicagofest in

    'The Go-Go's': Film Review

    In the terrific documentary “The Go-Go’s,” there’s a tasty clip of the band playing an early club gig in 1979, when they were part of the L.A. punk scene. They wear bushy black hair and pale white makeup (with rouge!), as if they were trying to be mannequin versions of Darby Crash, and they have [...]


    Watch the Exclusive Trailer of Rotterdam/Goteborg Entry ‘A Perfectly Normal Family’

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the international trailer of the Danish film “A Perfectly Normal Family,” due to compete both at Rotterdam’s Big Screen Competition, and at Göteborg’s Nordic Film Competition. Malou Reyman’s debut feature has been a hot property for sales agent New Europe Film Sales, ever since it was sneak peeked [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content