French film-maker Jacques Audiard, whose new prison drama A Prophet is one of the buzz films in this year’s competition, is plotting a new film that promises to be in the same gritty, hardboiled groove

He has optioned and is developing Canadian author Craig Davidson’s book of short stories, Rust and Bone, which features fighting dogs boxing, sex addicts, and gamblers. Audiard said:  “It’s again a dark and tragic film with despairing characters.”

The film, which will be made through Why Not Productions and Audiard has funded the acquisition of the rights and will finance the development.

Audiard is yet to decide whether to make Rust and Bone an ensemble, Short Cuts-style drama based on a selection of the Davidson stories or to hone in on a specific tale. It is not known if he plans to cast unknown actors – as in A Prophet -  or with established stars.

“Davidson is a great writer,” Audiard said. “This was one of the best collections of short stories that I have read in a long time. There are several stories that interest me. One is about boxing, one is about dog fighting and one is about (theme park) Marineland.”

Speaking in Cannes yesterday (May 18), the French director was playing down the
frenzied speculation surrounding his chances of winning one of the festival’s major prizes. “For me, in Cannes there are two sides - being selected and
 being in competition. I am very touched and very moved at being here but as far as the competition is concerned, I am completely on the outside - I don’t care about that.”