The ever-reliable Production Weekly reported last night that Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, and Paul Giamatti have signed on to star in The Last Station, a pretty awesome-sounding (and when I say "awesome-sounding," I mean "something that giant nerds of Russian history like me will freaking love") movie based on a novel by Jay Parini. Parini's book tells the story of the last year of Russian author Leo Tolstoy's life, and is based in part on Tolstoy's own diaries, which detailed his desperate inner struggle between his opulent lifestyle (demanded by his wife, who will be played by Streep) and his personal "philosophy of poverty." In the book, a dying Tolstoy (as if you had to ask, that's Hopkins) finally flees his wife, home, and supporters (the most prominent of which will be played by Giamatti) and ends up in "a humble station-master's house," where he tries to find some internal peace. While there, "he believes that he is dying alone, while over one hundred newspapermen camp outside awaiting hourly reports on his condition." Wow.

Ok, I realize that 95% of you have fallen asleep already just reading that summary, but it seriously gives me chills. This movie sounds tailor-made for those of us who dig both all things Russian and old-school, internal Merchant Ivory-type stories (I'm think mostly of Howards End here). Under the direction of Michael Hoffman (who also helmed Soapdish and Restoration, an interesting pair), the movie will start shooting in Russian next February. Where it will be very, very cold.