August has date with 'Desire'


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BERLIN -- Two-time Palme d'Or-winning Danish director Bille August is gearing up to shoot "Burden of Desire" and has assembled a glamor cast including Gemma Arterton, the latest actress to join the ranks of Bond girls.

August's project, being touted to worldwide buyers at the European Film Market, also boasts Joshua Jackson and Wes Bentley in the film set against the backdrop of World War I.

Arterton, one of the hottest upcoming British acting talents, is shooting the latest James Bond adventure, "Quantum of Solace," alongside Daniel Craig and most recently appeared in the Brit comedy "St. Trinian's."

The cast is expected to boost the market profile of the title in Berlin for U.K. sales agent Bankside Films, which is backed by U.K. and U.S. production and financier Future Films.

Based on Robert MacNeil's novel, "Burden" is set against the backdrop of the 1917 explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and tells the story of Julia, whose diary of secret sexual fantasies sparks the passions of a doctor and a priest who battle for her heart.

"The gigantic explosion in Halifax does not only destroy half the city, but it also makes an enormous change on a deeper emotional level," August said. "For our young main characters, that means undergoing a vulnerable and dramatic change from a state of innocence and unawareness to a more mature, open-minded consciousness.

"To find these young lead actors, who can have that unspoiled, innocent quality but at the same time contain depth, diversity and awareness, and most of all are so very talented and skillful as the parts demand, is a great reward.

Future Films' Kwesi Dickson is producing the film in partnership with Canada's Capri Films.

Former London- and Los Angeles-based finance entity and now fully fledged production outfit Future Films also is prepping Menno Meyjes' "Last Battle Dreamer" as well as the Mischa Barton vehicle "Malice in Wonderland."

Arterton is repped by Independent Talent Group. Jackson is repped by WMA and Water Street Management. Bentley is repped by WMA and Untitled.