Stone Village project brings great pleasure

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NEW YORK -- Scott Steindorff's Stone Village Pictures is producing "The Anatomist," writer-director Gabriela Tagliavini's adaptation of a controversial comic novel based on the true story of the 16th century surgeon who discovered the clitoris.

"It's a story that continues to be a mystery to many men," jokes Tagliavini, who directed the 2003 Spanish-language hit comedy "Ladies' Night."

Federico Andahazi's book caused controversy in the author's native Argentina but won the prestigious Fortabat Foundation award in 1997 for best first novel by an Argentine, only to have sponsor Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat rescind the award when she learned about the subject matter.

Andahazi's book tells the fictionalized life story of Mateo Colombo, an "anatomist" whose desire for a high-priced Italian courtesan leads him to search for the physical source of love. During the course of the script, Colombo escapes execution during the Spanish Inquisition, cures the pope, pens a controversial book and creates a "treatment" that causes women to fall for him.

"I've been dying to make a movie in the vein of 'Life Is Beautiful' or 'Chocolat,' " said Steindorff, who is prepping his adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book "Love in the Time of Cholera" for its New Line Cinema release Nov. 16. "This is one of the finest scripts I've ever read. It's incredibly provocative but done very tastefully and explores the complex relationship between sex and love."

Steindorff is producing, with Stone Village's Scott LaStaiti and Dylan Russell serving as executive producers. Karen Firestone and Max Wong also will serve as exec producers.

Stone Village, which also produced the upcoming release "Penelope" and "The Human Stain," will begin a two-month shoot on the $15 million production in October in Italy. The company acquired rights to the script and the services of Tagliavini, who spent five years chasing down an option on the novel purchased by a series of parties. Tagliavini, who brought the project to Steindorff, spent eight months writing the adaptation after securing the rights a year ago.

"It's a funny but political story," she said. "It's about men, women, our differences and how we sometimes confuse love and sex."

Tagliavini's directing credits include two English-language features, the indie comedy "Perfect Lover" and the VH1 comedy "30 Days Until I'm Famous."

Tagliavini is repped by manager Todd Sharp at Insight, attorney Todd Rubenstein at Barnes Morris Klein Mark Yorn Barnes & Levine and Dino Carlaftes at Metropolitan Talent Agency.
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