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PRODUCTION France

Amalric heads Bell and the Butterfly bill

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It is two weeks into the shooting of The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly, an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Jean Dominique Bauby. The rights to the novel were bought by Pathé from the US studio originally supposed to make the film.

The feature is being produced by New York director Julian Schnabel, whose previous films, Build a Fort, Set It on Fire and Before Night Falls, competed at the 1996 and 2000 Venice Film Festivals respectively, with the latter winning a Special Jury Grand Prize.

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The film was scripted by Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar in 2003 for Roman Polanski’s The Pianist [+see also:
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The film’s cast – which the production outfit has still not finalised although filming began two weeks ago – is impressive, and includes Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-José Croze, Marina Hands, Max von Sydow, Patrick Chesnais, Isaach de Bankolé, Niels Arestrup, Emma de Caunes and French/British actor Gérard Watkins.

Translated into 23 languages and with over a million copies sold worldwide, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was written by Bauby following an accident in December 1995, which left him suffering from locked-in syndrome.

Completely paralysed, unable to move, eat, talk or breathe without assistance, the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine dictates letter by letter through the flattering of the eyelashes of his left eye, a type of stationary travel log that was published a few weeks after his death in March 1997 at age of 44.

Produced by Pathé Renn Productions, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly received co-production and pre-sales financing from France 3 Cinéma.

The nine-week shoot began in Lourdes, before travelling north to Berck-sur-Mer, where the team will stay until the third week of October. The final scenes will be filmed in Paris.

Pathé will handle the film’s theatrical release and world sales.

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(Translated from French)

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