British Director Peter Webber Plans Follow-Up to 'Girl With a Pearl Earring'

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Scarlett Johansson, who starred in "Girl With a Pearl Earring"

The new film, tentatively titled "Medusa," is also based on the story behind a famous painting and will be produced by Raffaella De Laurentiis.

ODESSA, UKRAINE – British film director Peter Webber is planning to shoot another movie based on a famous painting.

Webber, whose debut feature in 2003, Girl With a Pearl Earring, is credited with helping launch Scarlett Johansson's Hollywood career, says he is preparing a film based on the story behind a famous canvas painted in the early 19th century.

The movie — working title Medusa — is to be produced by Raffaella De Laurentiis, daughter of Dino De Laurentiis, who produced Webber's Hannibal Lecter prequel Hannibal Rising in 2007. It will be made on a budget of around $8 million.

Webber, who was in Odessa as chairman of the city's international film festival jury, said the film is one of a slate of projects he is keen to work on after a gap of several years in his feature work.

"I am hoping to catch up and line up some projects and bang out a few films in a row to make up for some of the down times over the last 10 years," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

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Webber would not be drawn out on details of the Medusa project other than to say that it would be set in post-revolutionary France amid events that were similar to many current political conflicts the world over.

Like Girl With a Pearl Earring, the work of art would lead into a wider story that explored multiple themes.

"Anyone who knows their art history will be able to guess which painting the film is about," Webber added with a smile.

Other projects he is working on include two scripts adapted from novels: The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason and The Colour by Rose Tremain.

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The Piano Tuner, set in 1886 in British-ruled Burma, where an eccentric officer orders a grand piano delivered to him deep in a jungle, is to be produced by Mulberry Films and Latitude Media.

But Webber's next film, which he says he is "a week away from completing," is an environmental documentary, Ten Billion, based on a lecture by scientist Stephen Emmott. The documentary deals with climate change and the global extinction crisis.

"Many environmental documentaries finish on a hopeful note," Webber says. "This is different and tells it as it is, delivering a powerful message."