Meirelles takes a crack at 'Love'

By Scott Roxborough
CANNES -- Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles will switch gears after wrapping the dark drama "Blindness," by directing a romantic comedy based on the novel "Love's Labors Lost" by Brazilian screenplay writer Jorge Furtado.

Moving between Brazil, London, Denmark and New York, "Love's Labors Lost" is a very loose adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy and follows the lives and romantic entanglements of a group of international students. Meirelles' shingle O2 Filmes will produce with Furtado adapting his novel for the screen.

Furtado's many credits including an episode for 02 Filmes-produced Brazilian TV series "City of Men."

Meirelles plans to begin shooting "Love's Labors Lost" by the end of 2009.

"After I do 'Blindness,' which is a very dark story, I'll really need to do a comedy," Meirelles said in an interview. "I like comedy a lot and I have done some for Brazilian television, but somehow my films like 'City of God' and 'The Constant Gardner' are all these very dark subjects. I should probably talk to my psychologist about that."

Meirelles is wearing several hats at this year's Cannes.

He is finalizing casting on "Blindness," meeting with actors to take on the lead role of a doctor who is the only man who can see in a village where everyone else is suddenly struck blind. Daniel Craig was in talks to take the role but is no longer attached.

Meirelles is also acting as a co-producer on the Un Certain Regard title "El Bano Del Papa," which Bavaria Film International is selling at Cannes. The film, the directorial debut of "City of God" cinematographer Enrique Fernandez, premieres on Monday.

"It's a wonderful, true story of the Pope's visit to a small town on the Uruguayan/Brazilian border," Meirelles said. "They are expecting 80,000 Brazilians to come and one man, to make money, invests all he has to try to build a toilet to rent out to the tourists. It's funny but also very touching."

If all that weren't enough, Meirelles is also prepping "Adrift," the first project to be made under the co-development/production deal O2 Filmes has with Focus Features and Universal. Heitor Dahlia, whose "Drained" premiered at Sundance this year, will direct the story of a young girl who discovers her father is having an affair.