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Al Pacino to play Henri Matisse

Pacino set to star in film, directed by Deepa Mehta, about French artist's relationship with his muse, Monique Bourgeois

Al Pacino looks set to play the French artist Henri Matisse in a film about the painter's relationship with his nurse, model and muse, Monique Bourgeois, Variety reports.

No start date has yet been picked for the project, titled Masterpiece, with producers still searching for two female leads. Bourgeois was hired by Matisse in 1941, when the painter was in his 70s. She later became a Dominican nun, and the pair re-encountered each other in Vence, France, where she inspired him to decorate the Chapelle du Rosaire, often known as the Matisse chapel and one of the most important works of art of the 20th century.

Bourgeois, or Sister Jacques-Marie as she was later known, died in 2005. She insisted her relationship with the painter had always been purely platonic. "I never really noticed whether he was in love with me," she told an interviewer in 1992. "I was a little like his granddaughter or his muse, but he was always a perfect gentleman."

The Indian-Canadian Oscar-nominated film-maker Deepa Mehta is set to direct a script by Donald Martin. Pacino will next be seen on screen in Son of No One, which debuted at Sundance last month and stars Channing Tatum as a cop assigned to a precinct in the Queens neighbourhood where he grew up. The film also features Juliette Binoche, Ray Liotta and Katie Holmes. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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