A GRIPPING screenplay, names like Gerard Depardieu, Harvey Keitel and Jack Nicholson, music by Peter Gabriel and a storyline set in Canada, France and the US. All that's missing is the girl. German supermodel Claudia Schiffer, who doesn't get out of bed for under US$10,000 (HK$77,200) for a day's work, was all set for the female lead in the action-thriller Moneymoon, written by Frenchman Eric Ferro. Her agent, Aline Souliers, happily signed an agreement on Schiffer's behalf and news leaked out that the highly sought-after model had finally agreed to do a film. But Schiffer has suddenly become camera-shy, and has asked that she not be committed to a contract until a 'suitable' male lead is found. There is also reportedly the small problem of her fiance, illusionist David Copperfield, not exactly being overjoyed with his bride-to-be's dalliance with the film world. According to a source close to the model, Copperfield 'wants to control her and everything she does', and doesn't believe this project to be good enough. Schiffer and her agent chose Moneymoon over the 500 scripts they reportedly received over the past two years. They said they were drawn to the Ferro project because of the plot: a young, naive receptionist - possibly Schiffer - in an insurance company is hotly pursued by a macho playboy (Robert De Niro was considered for the part but he's too short) - who plans to defraud the company. He chases the woman around three continents to woo her, intending to kill her somewhere down the line. 'Aline pushed Claudia to accept this project because it is such a good opportunity,' the Paris-based Ferro said. 'I have had some tentative agreements with big names who are waiting for myself and my partners to organise the financing and production to commit to it. Once they do, we will re-start negotiations with Claudia. The door is always open,' he said. Sources in the film industry say Schiffer will need a 'big name' to carry off her movie premiere. 'She's a nobody in the movie business, even if she is a somebody. We are all curious to see if she can act,' one said. But a model friend close to Schiffer said she had received little encouragement from Copperfield in her quest to become a screen star. 'He has taken all her fame and celebrity. He wants to run and manage everything. He was never this well-known before she came along,' the friend said. 'He doesn't support this project because he believes Claudia must shoot with a very well-known director on a completely gorgeous project. He also thinks he's not going to get anything out of it, so why should she bother?' Ferro said he spent five hours talking with Schiffer during the Cannes Film Festival in May, during which she was 'completely enthusiastic'. But since then, his only contact is with her agent, who is still pushing her star client to sign on the dotted line. 'I still think Claudia Schiffer will be ideal for this role. There are a lot of actresses, but there is only one Claudia. She looks so innocent and angelic and she's perfect because it's a very real role, and at the end she becomes a real woman. We believe that a lot of people who would never go to the movies would go just to see her in a good film.' Ferro, 40, has worked with a number of leading French directors and has made 15 films. This is his first solo project. Despite the Schiffer saga, he is going full-steam ahead, raising money with partners in Canada and Europe, and hoping to start production next spring. 'As soon as we are ready for production, I will do my best to obtain the stars I want,' Ferro said. 'I've met Jack Nicholson who's very interested but he needs six months of freedom because he's been working so hard. He will seriously consider it after that. Gerard Depardieu is open to it and so is Christopher Walken [Batman 2 and Pulp Fiction]. If Claudia is still interested in being an actress, we will help her. If not, we'll have to find somebody else,' he said. But Copperfield still has to be convinced. 'He has such a magic hold on her,' said a source close to Schiffer. 'I know someone who was with them once in Monte Carlo, for two weeks, and all she did was cry. It has always been Claudia's dream to be with a star but I wish she would choose someone nicer. Maybe the magic he has for her will disappear.' What a drama. Who needs the movie when you can have this? Boosted to stardom STILL on movies and models, Elle 'The Body' Macpherson has reportedly been brushed aside for the female lead in the new James Bond movie with Pierce Brosnan. Her replacement is the woman who gave the Wonderbra a boost, exotic eastern European Eva Herzigova. Macpherson's screen test was allegedly 'lukewarm' while Herzigova, according to a film source, 'was amazing'. It'll be interesting to see if the audience feels the same way - or if she's just another pretty bustline.