Rising Italian star Michele Riondino, who is on the Lido with Venice Days pic “I Nostri Fantasmi,” is set to play a priest sent by the Vatican to Holland to investigate a crying statue of the Virgin Mary in “The Man From Rome,” from Dutch director Jaap van Heusden (“In Blue”).
This English, Dutch and Italian-language pic blending thriller and comedy elements is set to start shooting this month on location in the southern Dutch province of Limburg and in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region.
The lead producers are Dutch production company IJswater Films and German’s Fiction Park.
Riondino, best known in Italy as the title character in hit RAI TV series “The Young Montalbano,” will soon be seen in Netflix’s Italian skein “Fedeltà.” He is at Venice with “Fantasmi,” a drama in which he plays a suddenly impoverished single father.
In “Man From Rome,” Riondino will play Filippo, a skeptical Catholic priest sent to investigate and debunk claims of a crying statue of the Virgin Mary in a border community in the south of Holland, where four years earlier a boy shot and killed 11 of his schoolmates.
In this small town, Filippo becomes attracted and unsettled by a mute young woman named Térèse, who had discovered the tears. He gets entangled in the village’s grief and a series of apparently miraculous events that undermine his vocation.
“The film starts with Filippo not experiencing his faith very deeply and then comes to a close with his redemption and an original take on what it means to have religious faith today,” Riondino told Variety. This will be his first international role.
Germany’s Emma Bading (“Play”) will star as Térèse, while Dutch actors Raymond Thiry (“Quo Vadis, Aida”) and Marie Louise Stheins (“Paradise Trips”) round off the cast.
Van Heudsen co-wrote the “Man From Rome” screenplay with Rogier de Blok (“The New World.”)
The plan is for a summer of 2022 release with Gusto Entertainment already on board for distribution in Benelux, while Missing Films will release in Germany.