Whoopi Goldberg and Jeremy Irvine are set to star in Italian comedy “Leopardi & Co.,” directed by Federica Biondi and produced by Franco-Tunisian film and TV entrepreneur Tarak Ben Ammar’s Eagle Pictures.
Shooting on the film is currently underway in the town of Recanati, which is known to many Italians as the birthplace of one the country’s greatest poets, Giacomo Leopardi.
Goldberg plays the agent of a U.S. actor (Irvine), and lands him a part as the great Italian poet. But since her client knows nothing about Leopardi, a young Italian woman, played by Denise Tantucci, is hired to provide the background information. Romance ensues.
The film, in which Goldberg has a supporting role, is being entirely shot in Italy and has received a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement.
Ben Ammar’s Eagle Pictures is Italy’s top indie film distributor thanks to its deals with Paramount and Sony Pictures, whose titles they release exclusively in Italian cinemas. The Rome-based company is also becoming increasingly active in the TV sphere.
“Even with the strike a lot of opportunities are coming my way, with big directors and big stars who want to make European films,” Ben Ammar told Variety. “What we are discovering is that there is room for movies with budgets in the $15 [million] to $30 million range that might never be released in the U.S.,” he added, declining to specify the big U.S. talents with whom he is mounting these projects.
Though “Leopardi & Co.,” which is in Italian and English, is a smaller film, it is targeted at both the Italian and international markets.
Eagle recently co-produced Denzel Washington-starrer “The Equalizer 3” with Sony. The action movie was shot entirely in Italy, where it has opened well at the box office, scoring €183,000 ($197,000) in its first three days.