Henri Matisse and Al Pacino … Photograph: Carl Van Vechten/Corbis and Frederick M Brown/Getty
This is intriguing – one of my favorite actors will portray one of my favorite painters on screen. Academy award winner Al Pacino will play the French artist Henri Matisse in a film about the painter's relationship with his nurse, model and muse, Monique Bourgeois, Variety reports
Producers are still searching for two female leads for the film, titled “Masterpiece”. In 1941, Matisse, who lived most of the year in Nice in the south of France, developed cancer and underwent surgery. During the long recovery he was particularly helped by a young part-time nurse, Monique Bourgeois, who had answered his ad seeking "a young and pretty nurse" and who took care of Matisse with great tenderness.
Matisse asked her to pose for him, which she did. Several drawings and paintings exist. She later became a Dominican nun, and the pair re-encountered each other in Vence, France, where she inspired him to decorate the Chapelle du Rosaire, often known as the Matisse chapel and one of the most important works of art of the 20th century.
Bourgeois, or Sister Jacques-Marie as she was later known, died in 2005. She insisted her relationship with the painter had always been purely platonic. "I never really noticed whether he was in love with me," she told an interviewer in 1992. "I was a little like his granddaughter or his muse, but he was always a perfect gentleman."
Henri Matisse and Sister Jacques-Marie
The Indian-Canadian Oscar-nominated film-maker Deepa Mehta is set to direct a script by Donald Martin.