British director Richard Attenborough has a battle on his hands to raise funds for the film he's desperate to make - which he fears backers find "old-fashioned".

The GANDHI film-maker is desperate to find money for his planned $68.8 million (GBP43 million) biopic of 18th century revolutionary THOMAS PAINE, who wrote THE RIGHTS OF MAN. He's got an A-list cast in mind, and believes in the project completely - but because his last two films, GREY OWL and IN LOVE AND WAR, flopped, finding backers to put up the cash has been impossible.

The OSCAR-winner says, "I want to do it more than anything else.

"I am convinced that it could have huge box office attraction, say if Daniel Day-Lewis would play the part. I hope I could get TONY HOPKINS to play BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - and George Washington would be ideal for Michael Douglas or Martin Sheen. There is a fantastic girl's part and a fine Meryl Streep character. With those actors, you can start to talk.

"But it's too big a sum to raise on the street and neither the project nor I are obvious box office at the moment. Because I made these two failures - commercial and critical - I am not flavour of the month. In terms of current cinema and conventional box-office wisdom, I am old-fashioned."

22/08/2003 13:16