Paul Verhoven: A recent interview with Paul Verhoeven by a Dutch newspaper has unveiled many new projects in the works for the director. Take a look:

1/ He is set to direct a Dutch language (!) thriller, that he wrote together with Gerard Soeteman. They have collaborated on numerous Dutch films, such as "the 4th man" with Jeroen Krabbe and "Soldier of Orange" with Rutger Hauer. It will be his first Dutch effort since leaving for the States in 1983. Not much is known of the plot, other than that it is a thriller set in 1945, after the liberation of the Netherlands and that it is tentatively titled "Zwartboek", which would be "Blackbook" in English. The script is nearly done and filming should take place in The Hague and in the Biesbosch wetlands east of Rotterdam, though no start date is mentioned. Verhoevn did mention that it will be filmed with an all Dutch cast and crew, but that he expected the film to be of an international level of quality (i.e. he hopes to sell the film outside the Netherlands).

2/ Paul has written an English language script with his longtime cinematographer Jan de Bont (who also directed Speed, Twister, Lara Croft II) which is called "Paperboy" and should start filming before the end of this year. Nothing else is known, apart from the fact that it is a "family drama" whatever that may be and that casting is currently underway. No word on whether Paul or Jan (or both?) would direct.

3/ The Crusades project that he had long been attached to (with Arnold Schwarzenegger attached to star) is deader than dead. "Ridley Scott is doing a Crusades project and Arnie is governing... and Arnie now has the rights to this project and he will not do any films anymore"

4/ Paul is still developing an English language script, also with Gerard Soeteman, based on the historical novel by Mike Dash called "Batavia's Graveyard", but this project still needs at least a year before filming can start. He is currently in preproduction with the British FilmFour company and is trying to secure the use of a lifesize replica of the actual ship in question.

The story is a "Lord of the Flies but with grown-ups" as Verhoeven puts it, a true story of a Dutch East-Inda tradeship that wrecked off the coast of (the then unknown) Australian continent... most of the people on the ship survive and make it to a nearby island, only to be killed by a religious madman who has succeeded in recruiting others to kill for him and his cause. I suppose Verhoeven would also like to wait and see how the $135 million Russel Crowe/Peter Weir epic (Master and Commander etc etc) does at the box office. No stars are currently attached but Verhoeven mentioned he has a pretty good idea of whom he would like to work with, and that these included British and American actors, so maybe he is thinking of people that he has worked with before?!

5/ A biopic of Montyn, a Dutch painter that collaborated with the Nazi-regime during WWII and entered the German navy, is in the scripting phase but will take at least a two years before production gets going. The script is being written by Edwin de Vries, who also wrote the script for 'The Discovery of Heaven', a Dutch production in the English language, starring Stephen Fry. No word on whether this would be a Dutch or English language film.

6/ Verhoeven has optioned a novel by the Russian writer Boris Akunin. The novel is a detective mystery set in 19th century Moscow. Soeteman is also working on this script, which will be in English. There are ten novels in all, though Verhoeven would like to direct the first one and if its successful, only produce the others. As with the Montyn project, this will not be filming any time before 2005. The novel has (as yet) not been translated into English.

That's all on Verhoeven. Thought I might as well throw in a trailer-link to 'Twin Sisters', the Dutch film submitted for the Foreign language film 2004 Oscar... American distribution rights have been bought by Miramax who is planning on having it in theaters in February of 2004.

The story is about two twin sisters, born in Cologne (germany) in the 1930s, who are seperated when they are six years old. One moves to the Netherlands and falls in love with a Dutch Jew, and the other one remains in Germany and falls in love with an Austrian SS-officer. Obviously, drama ensues as WWII creates a rift between the sisters and one lover is forced to kill the other (on a symbolical level at least). The two sisters, now old grannies, meet in one last time in the health resort of Spa (Belgium) and try to overcome their differences.

Thanks to AICN for the scoop!