The versatile and Oscar-winning actor William Hurt, of Broadcast News and the recent Syriana, and Noah Taylor, late of Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, are set to add new roles to their already diverse and respectable list of credits. According to a recent Variety article, the two actors have agreed to star in in Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco's directorial debut Lesson 21 for producer Domenico Procacci's Fandango and RAI Cinema.

The pic, also adapted by Baricco, is an English-language project inspired by Beethoven's Ode to Joy. In the film, a student (played by Taylor) becomes inspired by a powerful lecture given by a dynamic and somewhat eccentric music professor (played by Hurt). The lecture, which discusses peace-themed ode music awakens the student and causes him to examine the world and his purpose in it. Also appearing in the film with Hurt and Taylor are Leonor Watling, who was very good in Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her and Clive Russell, late of King Arthur.

This is not the first of Baricco's works to be adapted to the screen. Among the others are the upcoming Silk, starring Keira Knightly and the terrific The Legend of 1900 starring the exceptional and under-appreciated Tim Roth. If you've never seen the film, I highly recommend it. As for Lesson 21, its based on an unpublished work by the author so I don't have much to go on, story-wise, other than the above. The film starts production February 21st in Italy.