FIFTH ELEMENT director Luc Besson has cast Madonna as the lead in his big-budget CGI-animated ARTHUR. Bessons Europa Corp. will produce with Buf Compagnie providing the CG. Besson hopes to have the film in theaters by 2006.
Besson adapted the film from a series of his children's books. In an attempt to save his grandfathers house from developers, 10-year-old Arthur and Princess Selenia (Madonna) venture to discover hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, tiny people living in synch with nature.
The English-language movie has a budget of 65 million ($80 million), making it one of the most expensive films ever to qualify under France's subsidy system. In addition to its own funds and French subsidies, Europe is funding the film through international presales, which include French network TF1 and pay channel Canal Plus.