EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has hired Fedor Bondarchuk to direct Odysseus, the large-scale film based on Homer’s poem The Odyssey, about the Greek king who returns after a decade away fighting the Trojan War. Jeremy Doner is writing the script. Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari is producing with Bernie Goldmann and Shannon Gaulding, as well as Bondarchuk’s partners Michael Schlicht and Paul Heth.
The film is a large-scale epic, and the Russian filmmaker’s work has been getting more and more ambitious. Bondarchuk, the son of Oscar-winning helmer Sergey Bondarchuk, is an actor, producer and on-air host who last fall directed Stalingrad, a touching WWII film about Russian soldiers who hold off the Nazis and adopt a young woman and keep her safe during an increasingly hostile campaign. The film was Russia’s first movie filmed in Imax 3D format and was nominated for multiple international prizes. Stalingrad was made for around $30 million, and even though there was a high number of action sequences involving tanks and warfare, all of it was accomplished without green screen, as Bondarchuk staged his own siege. He will become the latest offshore helmer to get a crack at a Hollywood studio film, and he has an intriguing advantage: Bondarchuk is a star director in Russia and China, two territories studios are eager to court. He’s repped by Paradigm and Magnolia Entertainment. Niija Kuykendall and Jon Gonda are overseeing for the studio.