Ray Winstone will star in the British caper/thriller.

New production and international sales company Locomotive Group has taken on rights pre-Cannes for The Hot Potato.

The project, which Locomotive Distribution president Colleen Seldin describes as a British caper/thriller in the vein of In Bruges or The Italian Job, will star Ray Winstone as well as his daughter Lois Winstone.The plot is about a few London East End guys in 1969 who accidentally find a stash of weapons-grade uranium and try to sell it. The film will shoot at the end of 2010 with writer/director Tim Lewiston and his production company Wardour Pictures (formed with Peter Joly and Tony Townsen).

New York-based Locomotive, which is attending MIPTV this week, will start active pre-sales discussions on The Hot Potato at Cannes Market. They hope to have a UK distributor on board as one of the first key pre-sales.

Locomotive was launched in September 2009 by Group president Gabriel Gornell (a TV production veteran) and former Miramax executive Seldin, who met through mutual industry friends.

Gornell says: “We’re two companies with a single vision.” Seldin handles sales, marketing and distribution, while Gornell does the creative producing; they do overlap as needed.

The sales arm will handle most of the production side’s projects, but will take on third-party films and TV shows as well.

Gornell says: “The creative side can lend creative services to productions being sold, and the sales side can come in with market expertise for productions at an early stage. It’s a true boutique approach.”

Here at MIPTV, Locomotive has taken on two new TV projects: children’s animated nutrition series Bubble Bubble Cook and a new children’s series called Job Jumpers. The latter, from Moray Black Productions and Emmy winning producer Len Stone, is about kids getting hands-on experience with exciting careers. Seldin noted the latter will have formats potential in other territories.

The documentary slate includes Brian Jamieson’s Nancy Kwon story To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen‘s Journey.

Locomotion also has a number of titles from Mpower (for whom Seldin was formerly a consultant). Those are Rwanda-set documentary As We Forgive, scientific exploration documentary Star of Bethlehem, and award-winning drama The Stoning of Soraya M. starring Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Another forthcoming Locomotive project from Mpower is Robert Kirbyson’s Snowmen, a family friendly coming-of-age story about three boys who want to be remembered for their record-setting stunts. Ray Liotta co-stars.

The company’s other projects include a one-off Kenny Rogers 50th anniversary concert and tribute (taped recently for broadcast later this year), and Gornell’s Tyrannosaurus Sex (already broadcast in the US on the Discovery Channel).

Going forward, Seldin notes, “We’re trying to keep a mix of different genres, different formats.”

Gornell adds: “We want strong creative partners, good stories and smart distribution plans.”

Locomotive expects to add more film titles to its slate ahead of Cannes Market.