Jancso, 86, who pioneered the use of long shots in the 1960s, set the preliminary budget at €2 million to €4 million.
Currently in development with a finished script, the movie is produced by Jozsef Berger of Mythberg Films (www.mythbergfilms.hu) whose credits include Peter Gothar's Passport and Hungarian Beauty. Co-producer credit goes to former TV executive Endre Florian (Wagner, The Simon Wiesenthal Story).
The producers are aiming for a Hungarian-Italian-Austrian (and possibly German) co-production setup, with Hungary putting up about 60% of the budget.
Once the agreement is sealed, Berger also intends to apply for support at Eurimages (www.coe.int/eurimages), the European Commission's film funding body. Negotiations are under way and "The reactions to the project were definitely positive," Berger told FNE.
The film will boast set pieces of the royal court, large battle scenes with hundreds of extras and horses, and some computer-generated special effects, although not on a Hollywood scale. The screenplay calls for a 55-day shooting schedule.
The scriptwriting process was financed by a 1 million forint (€400,000) grant from the National Cultural Fund of Hungary (www.nka.hu), while development is furnished by a Motion Picture Fund grant (www.mmk.hu) of 7 million forint (€2.8 million).
After a hiatus in the 1990s spent teaching in the United States, Janeso returned to the screen in 1999 and has been active ever since, directing five low-budget movies featuring his Oliver and Hardy-type duo named Kapa and Pepe. By contrast, the King Mathias film will have a Shakespearean atmosphere, a major departure from the satirical, often grotesque tone of Jancso's recent films, which did not travel well internationally.