Andreotti pic moving forward

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ROME -- Paolo Sorrentino's controversial film about famed Italian political powerbroker Giulio Andreotti will start filming next month, with or without the help of the seven-time prime minister.

Sorrentino -- a two-time Palme d'Or nominee at Cannes -- announced the plans for the highly anticipated film last month, claiming that the 88-year-old Andreotti gave the project his blessing. But Andreotti responded a day later saying he had never met Sorrentino and that he hoped the film would never be made.

But producers indicated Monday that it will indeed be made, with a €4.2 million ($5.7 million) budget split between four production houses: Italian producers Indigo Film, Lucky Red and Parco Film along with French company Babe Films. Filming is set to begin in June.

Toni Servillo, who won a David di Donatello Award for best actor for Sorrentino's 2004 film "Conseguenze dell'Amore" (Consequences of Love), will play Andreotti in the film.

When contacted, Sorrentino would not say if Andreotti had finally decided to give his blessing to the project.

Sorrentino was nominated for the Festival de Cannes' top prize in 2004 for "Conseguenze dell'Amore" and again last year for "Amico di Famiglia" (Friend of the Family).

Andreotti is one of the most powerful and polarizing figures of Italy's post-war period, with allegedly strong but shadowy ties to both the Vatican and the Mafia. The fictional character Don Licio Lucchesi from Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part III" -- a pro-Church political kingpin with Mafia ties -- is widely reported to have been modeled on Andreotti, the only member of the current Italian parliament elected when it was first created in 1946.
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