Action man Vin Diesel has been forced to scale down his epic labour of love, HANNIBAL THE CONQUEROR, after learning his ideas would cost a studio more than $210 million (GBP110.5 million).

The XXX star has been working on the film, about heroic Carthaginian general HANNIBAL BARCA, for years, and admits he's now struggling to rework the project to make it an affordable option for a leading Hollywood studio.

He tells movie website MOVIEHOLE.NET, "I got a budget back from a studio that said it would cost $217 million. So I said, 'I know I'm not the smartest guy in the world but $217 million, doesn't that mean that this film will never get made?'

"There's no way in the world that this film will be made at $217 million, and I am already committed to this character, channelling this guy.

"So I'll go into soft pre-production, and think about sequences, and think about ways to shoot sequences that would have the same story about it but cost a lot less."

Diesel insists his latest draft of the film will cost just $50 million (GBP26.3 million).

He adds, "If you are thoughtful and creative, you can cut down a scene, and have the same story, the same emotional and action impact, and not spend so much money."

01/03/2005 21:16