EXCLUSIVE: Grace Of Monaco scribe Arash Amel and that film’s financier Uday Chopra have found another untold story involving an iconic actress as their next project together. Chopra’s YRF has optioned Seducing Ingrid Bergman, a book by Chris Greenhalgh that will be published in the U.S. next year. Amel is writing the script and will produce with Chopra, who’ll finance the film, same roles they played on the Olivier Dahan-directed Grace Of Monaco, which The Weinstein Company releases this fall. Seducing Ingrid Bergman is the story of a torrid, clandestine romance between the beloved actress and the celebrated war photographer Robert Capa. Their tryst took place in post-WWII 1945 Paris, right before the onset of the Cold War and communist witch hunting. Amel tells me that the love affair set the stage for an image change for Bergman, whose The Bells Of St. Mary’s wholesome image would be shattered when her affair with director Roberto Rossellini became public and she was actually denounced by the U.S. Senate for loose morals when this Swedish housewife left home and fell in love with a playboy filmmaker.
Amel was just completing Grace Of Monaco when his CAA agents slipped him galleys of the Bergman book, and he responded to a symmetry between the stories of actresses in crossroad moments. Grace Of Monaco is many things, but at its core, it is the story of Grace Kelly’s struggle to surrender Hollywood stardom and swallow her ego to become a subordinate, a princess supporting her husband at a time when Monaco was under siege from France. Bergman is about an actress breaking free from the wholesome image she cultivated for herself, which didn’t match a true self that was far more complicated. Amel liked the idea that the book was written by an academic who got permission from Bergman to tell that story and of Capa’s role in liberating her.