Polanski Ponders Pricey 'Pompeii' Pic

Robert HarrisRoman PolanskiAcademy AwardsBrett Ratner

Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski is set to bring Robert Harris' bestseller "Pompeii" to the big screen.

According to Variety, the ambitious adaptation will be an independently financed European production with a budget of somewhere in the $130 million range, making it Polanski's most expensive by a wide margin.

Harris will write the script himself, maintaining his focus on Pompeii in the last days before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The plot centers on an engineer repairing a large aqueduct. Sounds architecturally fascinating.

Polanski and Robert Benmussa of RP Productions will produce along with Alain Sarde. Financing is being secured from a variety of private sources.

"Oliver Twist," the director's first film since winning an Oscar for "The Pianist," made just over $2 million at the U.S. box office, making it a major disappointment (the $40 million overseas take was only slightly better). The "Chinatown" director will play a supporting role in Brett Ratner's "Rush Hour 3."

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