According to Variety, after dying on the vine two years ago, Tulip Fever has taken root again with director Peter Chelsom.
Chelsom, who's coming off "Shall We Dance," has been set to direct the adaptation of the Deborah Moggach novel for London-based Ruby Films. Peter Flannery is rewriting an original adaptation by Tom Stoppard.
Ruby's Alison Owen and Chelsom are resurrecting a film that was seven weeks away from production in 2004. John Madden was ready to direct Jude Law, Keira Knightley and Jim Broadbent in a DreamWorks/Miramax co-production. When the British government shuttered a tax break program, the $45 million budget grew by about $17 million, and the film was shuttered.
It remained at DreamWorks, and Owen convinced execs there not to put it in turnaround but rather to allow her to redevelop it and give the studio first option to distribute domestically.
Set in the 17th century, the Moggach novel concerns a beautiful young woman who marries a wealthy merchant. When an artist arrives to paint her portrait, she's smitten, and they plan for a future together by putting their money into the highly speculative tulip market, in which certain flower bulbs were worth huge sums.
Owen and Chelsom will scale the film down to a $25 million budget. Some of the savings will come from scrapping the original plan to shoot in London in favor of Eastern Europe.