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Minnesota author's novel to be adapted by Oscar-winning screenwriter

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An Oscar-winning screenwriter is getting ready to adapt a novel by Minneapolis author R.D. Zimmerman into a screenplay for a feature film, the Star Tribune reported.

Zimmerman, whose pen name is Robert Alexander, is the author of the 2004 novel "The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar," which is being adapted by Ronald Harwood.

Harwood won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for the 2003 Holocaust drama "The Pianist."

Stefan Ruzowitzky, who directed the 2008 Best Foreign Language Oscar winner "The Counterfeiters," will direct. Kristin Scott Thomas ("The English Patient," "Four Weddings and a Funeral") will star.

Photo: Penguin Books

The Hollywood Reporter said the kitchen boy in the title was a real person named Leonka Sednyov, who worked in a Russian household. The Reporter said while Alexander had "incredible access to archives," the book is a fictional account of events that happened in 1918.

Thomas will play German-born empress Alexandra Romanov, who was a mother of five children.

The Star Tribune said "The Kitchen Boy" will probably shoot for a month this summer in Lithuania, as well as few days in Russia.

According to the paper, Zimmerman sold a business he co-owned in St. Petersburg two years ago to raise Russian money to finance the project.

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