'Gift Horse' for Makatsch

Tossell takes on top teutonic talent

CANNES -- Berlin-based Egoli Tossell has lined up a cast of A-list German characters actors for its $15 million biopic of 1960s filmstar and chanteuse Hildegard Knef, "The Gift Horse," including Johanna Gastdorf ("Sophie Scholl"), Christian Berkel ("Downfall"), Michael Gwisdek ("Good Bye Lenin!"), Henry Hubschen ("Go For Zucker") and Monica Bleibtreu ("Four Minutes").

Heike Makatsch ("Love Actually") will star as the enigmatic singer/actress who rose to German and then international fame, appearing in such films as "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" alongside Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner.

Kai Wessel will direct from a script by Maria von Heland with "The Lives Of Others" cinematographer Hagen Bogdanski behind the camera.

Shooting is set to start in Germany next month. Warner Bros. will release "The Gift Horse" in Germany in 2009. Beta Cinema is selling the title internationally, presenting it to buyers for the first time here in Cannes.

Egoli Tossell is in production on its Leo Tolstoy biopic "The Last Station," starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti and Anne-Marie Duff, which Warner has also picked up for German release.