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Eva Green in talks for Maria Callas biopic

'Titanic' miniseries also in the works from DAP, Future

TORONTO -- French actress Eva Green ("Casino Royale") is in negotiations to star as Maria Callas in the upcoming English-language biopic about the operatic star from Italy's DeAngelis Group (DAP) and British producer partner Future Films.

DAP president Guido DeAngelis said the Callas project, to be shot next year, will also be co-produced by crystal producer Swarovski, whose bling was often worn by the iconic opera star on stage and off.

DeAngelis and Canadian co-producer the Fremantle Corp. are also prepping the $28 million, 12-hour miniseries "Titanic: The Untold Story of How it All Began," for a May 2011 shoot in Ireland.

Also on board the "Titanic" TV series as co-producers are Future Films, Play Productions France, the Irish Film Authority and Wilshire Films USA.

DeAngelis said the sinking of the Titanic has already been told widely, not least by James Cameron. The Fremantle/DAP dramatization, originally created in Italy for RAI TV by Fabrizio Del Noce, will detail how the luxury liner was built in Belfast by the White Star Lines over 15 years from 1897, and at a cost of 105 lives.

"There's something strange and adventurous about the destiny of the ship before its first ocean voyage," DeAngelis explained.

That includes a hard-fought rivalry for control of world shipping lanes by steamship builders White Star Lines, which was controlled by American financier JP Morgan, and the Cunard Lines, whose fleet included the Lusitania, a ship eventually torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915 to mark a turning-point in the first World War.

RAI TV will air the primetime series in Italy, and DeAngelis is talking with two German broadcasters for a deal in that market, while Future Films fields British broadcast interest.

Other territories up for grabs include Spain, where Antenna 3 and TV3 at are at the table, and North America, where the Fremantle Corp, as worldwide distributor for the mini-series, is negotiating for likely cable and pay TV deals.

The bible for the "Titanic" TV series is currently being written. No word on the script-writing staff now being assembled in Ireland, the U.K. and Los Angeles.

DeAngelis said word on casting and directors will follow in the next few months, with delivery of the mini-series set for 2012, in time for the 100th anniversary of Titanic's maiden and only voyage.

Fremantle Corp. and DAP are also moving full-steam ahead on "The Merchant of Flowers," a 12-part TV miniseries for Italy's MediaSet targeted for network audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and based on the best-selling book by Diego Cugia.

DeAngelis said Los Angeles writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd has just completed the first draft of the TV series set against the backdrop of international sex slavery. It is to be shot in Canada, Thailand and Italy in March and April 2011.

The "Titanic" and "Merchant of Flowers" projects are the latest in a slate of TV dramas from Toronto-based Fremantle and DAP as part of an overall co-production pact.

Separately, DAP is prepping a four-hour Italian/French co-produced biopic about Anna Magnani, the Italian actress who earned an Oscar in 1955 for her role in "The Rose Tattoo."