James Gondolfini: Jemal Countess/WireImage.com
Gary Susman
August 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

James Gandolfini is shifting from Papa Soprano to Papa Hemingway. Variety reports that he’ll play Ernest Hemingway in a film centering on the author’s tumultuous romance with war correspondent Martha Gellhorn in the 1930s and ’40s. ”Pollock” screenwriter Barbara Turner, who knows from biopics of hard-living mid-century artists, is writing the screenplay. She says Robin Wright Penn is a possibility to play Gellhorn.

”She might have been the best war correspondent who ever lived, and she was the only woman who left Hemingway and asked for a divorce,” Turner said of Gellhorn, who was an inspiration for Hemingway’s ”For Whom the Bell Tolls.” ”She was drop-dead gorgeous, smart and funny, and they had a competitive, stormy but romantic relationship. She was one of the great romances of his life.”

Gandolfini is a Hemingway fan who has supported the foundation that’s restoring the Cuban home where the novelist wrote ”The Old Man and the Sea.” His managers are the untitled film’s executive producers. He’s expected to shoot the movie in January before returning to production on the sixth and final season of ”The Sopranos.”

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