According to Variety, Sylvester Stallone is turning a more literary page and will direct Poe, a film he wrote about the life of Edgar Allan Poe. Nu Image/Millennium Films will finance, produce and distribute the film; Robert Downey Jr. is Stallone's choice for the leading role.

Production is skedded to begin in Europe this fall.

The life of the legendary 19th century American poet and short story writer has long fascinated Stallone, who has been nurturing this project for years. He completed the screenplay for the film in 2002, but the project did not come together until this week.

Considered the granddaddy of the Gothic horror tale, Poe's life is rich with its own eerie details. He suffered from madness, depression and drugs, and was mysteriously found dead in a gutter in 1849. Among his most famous works were "The Raven" and "The Fall of the House of Usher."

Although it's been a while since Stallone's been behind the camera, he has a handful of directing credits, including the second, third and fourth Rocky pics, and "Staying Alive."

His screenplays include the entire Rocky and "Rambo" film franchises.

Most recently, Stallone exec produced NBC's boxing reality show The Contender.