Tornatore’s Leningrad Gets Its Financing

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Leningrad, the long-in-development English-language WWII epic by Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore, the director of the Oscar-winning 1988 drama Cinema Paradiso, has found its $100 million financing in the form of producer Avi Lerner and Millenium/Nu Image, according to Variety.

The film documents the 900-day Nazi attack on the Russian city now known as St. Petersburg, which was one of the most destructive sieges in history in terms of damages and casualties.

Responding to the downbeat topic of the film, Lerner told the trade, “We have had discussions about the screenplay with Tornatore. We have agreed to make it more upbeat.”

Tornatore and the production are currently talking to actors to take the film’s two major roles–Nicole Kidman was once attached–with plans to sell the distribution rights to a U.S. distributor and start filming in December 2012. Before then, Tornatore will be making a smaller film, his follow-up to 2009’s Baaria, as they continue to develop the filmmaker’s dream project and put together its cast.