IEG steps in on ‘Borgia’ budgeting
June 19, 2002

By Stuart Kemp

LONDON — Graham King’s Los Angeles-based financing and production company, Initial Entertainment Group, has boarded Neil Jordan’s “Borgia,” completing the picture’s financing structure, the producers said Tuesday.

King’s company has worldwide sales rights outside North America to the $55 million production, with 20th Century Fox retaining North American rights, the result of a deal struck during the Festival de Cannes.

IEG sealed the deal this week after Myriad Pictures — the Los Angeles- and London-based indie sales, financing and production company — pulled out last week after failing to agree on a budget with the movie’s producers.

Also, according to a statement, Ian McKellen will be added to a cast that already includes Ewan McGregor, Christina Ricci (as Lucretia, the illegitimate daughter of Roderigo), Jean Reno, Antonio Banderas and John Malkovich.

British producer Stephen Woolley is co-producing the project with Imagemovers’ Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey.

“Borgia,” a historical drama set during the 15th century, follows the corrupt Borgia family, which includes siblings Lucretia and Cesare and their father, Roderigo, who went on to become Pope Alexander VI and ran the 16th century Vatican as a crime syndicate.

Woolley, who runs London-based production outfit Company of Wolves with writer-director Jordan, said the movie is scheduled to begin shooting in October in Umbria, Italy, and at Babelsberg Studios in Germany. Filming is expected to last through February.

Rapke and Woolley hailed Jeff Berg at ICM as being central to the refinancing of the movie.

“Jeff has done a heroic job of shoring up last-minute financing after we agreed to part ways with Myriad,” Rapke said.

“It’s been something of a miracle putting together a new financing package at such speed,” Woolley said. ” ‘Borgia’ promises to be a truly spectacular European production, a U.K.-Irish-Italian-German co-production that will highlight the best of European talent in front of and behind the camera.”