David Seidler, who wrote the Oscar-winning script for “The King’s Speech,” is adapting Alexander Pushkin’s Russian short story, “Queen of Spades.” The project, which has directer Pavel Lungin (“Tsar”) attached, will be shopped at Berlin’s European Film Market by the Russian Cinema Fund (which has seven of Russia’s production companies under its arm, including Fyodor Bondarchuk’s Art Pictures Studio — they’ll be producing and are looking for cohorts). Seidler, a 74-year old Brit, is adapting the story to be a contemporary morality tale which follows a Russian officer made crazy by trying to discover the secret behind a card cheat. Tchaikovsky based his 1980 opera on the short story, and the composer’s music will fittingly be used in the film.
Of Pushkin’s story, NPR writes, “In it, he wrote that ‘two obsessions can no more exist in the same mind than two bodies can exist in the same space.’ If you doubt that statement, or think it’s for the best, just read the story — or have a listen to Tchaikovsky’s bleak, operatic version of the tale. Then think again.”