Hollywood bosses are desperate to sign A-list beauty Kirsten Dunst for a big-screen adaptation of MICHAEL FAUBER's novel THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE - which focuses on a London prostitute.

Curtis Hanson is in final negotiations to direct the movie, which was specifically written as a starring vehicle for the Spiderman actress.

But COLUMBIA PICTURES still haven't secured a deal with Dunst.

Set in London during the 1860s, the story centres on a 19-year-old prostitute named SUGAR. Her yearning for a better life begins to become a reality when she finds herself the secret mistress of a member of a powerful London family.

Producer LAURA ZISKIN says, "Even though it's a Victorian novel, it has a contemporary sensibility.

"It's about a woman who is in many ways ahead of her time. It's a very surprising, very triumphant and very sexy story."

27/05/2003 21:16