Sir Anthony Hopkins is set to play notorious American writer Ernest Hemingway in a new blockbuster.
Sir Anthony Hopkins could star opposite Meg Ryan in Papa
Hopkins is being lined up opposite Meg Ryan in the film Papa, which will be set near the end of Hemingway's life, at the time of the Cuban revolution.
Hemingway, a journalist, war correspondent and author of A Farewell to Arms and For Whom The Bells Tolls, was renowned for his love of bullfighting, hunting and fishing.
An agent for Hopkins, 66, confirmed he was involved in talks over the project.
The film, called Papa after Hemingway's nickname, is currently in preproduction and could be released in 2005.
It is based around a meeting between Hemingway, who suffered from depression and struggled with alcoholism during his life, and Denne Bart Petitclerc, who has written the script.
A spokesman for director Adrian Noble confirmed the movie, was "about the latter days of Hemingway, when he was deteriorating".
The larger-than-life character of Hemingway, who committed suicide in 1961, is a challenging test for any actor to capture on screen.
Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature
Decorated for bravery in the first world war, after lying about his age to fight, Hemingway also saw action in Spain during the civil war in the late 1930s
He crossed the English channel on D-Day with the American troops, and spent much of the war in Paris.
Married four times, he travelled widely - and spent time in Cuba both before and after Fidel Castro's troops entered Havana.
Hemingway, much of his work was semi-autobiographical, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
His six novels and 50 short stories include The Old Man and the Sea, and Death in the Afternoon.
Like Hemingway, Port Talbot-born actor Hopkins, who has been married three times and now lives in California, has also fought alcoholism.
Hopkins, whose films including Nixon, The Human Stain and The Mask of Zorro, won an Oscar for his performance as Dr Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.
Professor Diane Roberts, an expert on American 20th century literature at the University of Alabama, said Hopkins was "a terrific choice".
"He has a take-no-prisoners attitude to him," she said.
"Hemingway was a man who dominated any space he was in - he liked brawling and drinking.
"Hopkins is a very physical actor, and he can probably reproduce Hemingway's strange accent."
Former Royal Shakespeare Company chief Adrian Noble, who directed the 1996 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, has confirmed he will be directing the project.