Cannes 2012: Daniel Fridell's 'A Private Story' Closing Financing at Fest

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The $20 million biopic looks at the life of Swedish porn king Berth Milton Jr.

CANNES – Final financing is coming together in Cannes for A Private Story, a big-budget biopic on the life of Swedish porn king Berth Milton Jr.

Sweden’s Daniel Fridell will direct the film, which aims to tell the Milton’s life story, explaining how he went from a small town boy in Sweden to reluctantly taking over his father’s failing porn business, Private Media Group, and turning it into a $200 million global empire.

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According to Fridell, Milton Jr. was motivated to run Private Media primarily as a means to gain the love of father. But instead Milton Sr. tried to have his son killed and re-take control of the company.

Earlier this year, Milton was accused on embezzling funds and trying to rig a board election at his Nasdaq-listed firm. The company’s investors stripped him of his CEO title and forced him out.

Fridell told THR he got the idea to make a film on Milton Jr. after he met him in Cannes 20 years ago.

“It was 1999 and he had just shot the first porn film in space. His party was the biggest, he arrived in a helicopter with a harem of girls, A-list stars stood in line to speak with him, the smell of money and champagne was everywhere,” Fridell said. “But later that night when we were drunk he told me that his father just tried to kill him to get the Private company back. I realized the Oedipus drama behind it and asked him if I could make a film about his father and his life as the poorest billionaire in the world. He got angry and we almost started to fight. Ten years later he called me up and said: Now my father is dead. I want to tell my story to you.”

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Milton Jr. flew in to Cannes to help promote the project, hosting a private villa dinner for the film’s partners, which include Revelin Studios and William Morris Endeavour, which is packaging the project. WME global head of packaging Graham Taylor is handling A Private Story.

Producers include Ken Meyer and Jim Steele of Revelin Studios and Mirijam Johansson of Swedish company Wanted Pictures. Spain’s Gaia, Belgium group Newart and Polish shingle Icebreaker are also on board as co-financiers/co-producers. 

A Private Story has received backing from Swedish Film Institute and Filmpool Nord. Budgeted at $20 million, it will be one of the biggest films ever to come out of Scandinavia.

Fridell told THR he is the midst of casting the film and expects to begin shooting Dec. 3 for an August 2013 delivery date.