Hopkins and Dench to Star in Branagh’s Italian Shoes

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Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench are in talks to star in Italian Shoes, an adaptation of Swedish author Henning Mankell’s novel to be directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor). The book is described as follows:

From the prizewinning “master of atmosphere” (Boston Globe) comes the surprising and affecting story of a man well past middle age who suddenly finds himself on the threshold of renewal.

Living on a tiny island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives in a stasis so complete an anthill grows undisturbed in his living room.

When an unexpected visitor alters his life completely, thus begins an eccentric, elegiac journey—one that shows Mankell at the very height of his powers as a novelist.

A deeply human tale of loss and redemption, Italian Shoes is a testament to the unpredictability of life, which breeds hope even in the face of tragedy.

Richard Cottan wrote the script for the film, which will start shooting either at the end of 2012 or early 2013.

Branagh is also attached to direct The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society at 20th Century Fox and The Boys in the Boat at The Weinstein Company.

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