Berlusconi plans to write screenplay

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TAORMINA, Sicily -- Silvio Berlusconi had been Italy's prime minister, the head of its largest broadcaster, the owner of a leading soccer team and has even recorded a CD. Now he plans to add a screenwriting credit to his lengthy resume.

The billionaire media tycoon said over the weekend that he plans to begin work on a screenplay for a film that would arrive in Italian cinemas next year. A spokesman for Forza Italia -- the political party Berlusconi founded -- confirmed the statements but declined to elaborate.

"This is all in a very preliminary stage," the spokesman said in a brief phone interview Monday.

As the majority shareholder in film distributor Medusa and broadcasting giant Mediaset, Berlusconi officially has producer credits for several films, including 1991 Oscar winner "Mediterraneo." He also has appeared as himself in several films and, in 2002, recorded a CD of old classics with singer and friend Tony Renis in order to raise money for charity.

But if he does write a film, it will be Berlusconi's first writing credit.

Berlusconi was prime minister for seven months in 1994 and in two stretches that started in 2001 and ended last year. In addition to Medusa and Mediaset, Berlusconi's business holdings include leading newspaper Il Giornale, advertising firm PublItalia and AC Milan, one of Italy's top professional soccer teams.
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