Luc Besson and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam's French mini-majorEuropaCorp enters the festival with a slew of hot titles ranging from thenewest Guy Ritchie to the first instalment of its latest franchise.
Ritchie, of Snatch and Lock, Stock And Two SmokingBarrels fame returns to similar territory with Revolver. The $20mfilm - a sophisticated gambling movie with a twist - will star Ritchie regularJason Statham along with possible big name cameos. Film will shoot in the UKand Europe in Fall. Europa producer Virigine Silla is leading the project forthe company.
The parties have been talking about working together forsome time and given the friendly relationship between Besson and the Ritchie -he recently shot a video for Madonna - the project came together.
US and UK deals are likely to close early on in the festivalwith the film ready around Cannes next year.
Also on the line up, Bandidas, a Charlie's Angelsmeets Zorro confection co-written by Besson which Fox is handling in theUS. Starring Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, the film is directed by Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, a pair of hot shotNorwegians who are renowned for their ad work. The budget is reported at $35m.Shooting will commence September 6 in Mexico with the rest of the castcurrently being finalised.
New franchise Banlieue 13 (13th District)has just begun shooting near Paris with Pierre Morel behind the camera. Morelhas worked as cinematographer on other Europa projects, Danny The Dogand The Transporter.
Film is a Euros 13m action flick in the spirit of Europa's Taxiand Yamakasi films. Written by Besson and Bibi Naceri the film should be readyfor a late 2004 release.
The Chinese Botanist's Daughters from Dai Sijiefollows critical success Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress whichwas handled by TF1 a few years back. Sijie this time wrote directly for thescreen and will shoot the love story beginning in August 2004 on a Euros 4.5mbudget produced by Europa. Assuming authorisations go through, the film is setto start shooting in China in September.
Also on Europa's slate is Colour Me Kubrick starringJohn Malkovich as Alan Conway, the man who passed himself off as directorStanley Kubrick during the production of Eyes Wide Shut. Directed byBrian W. Cook, who was a frequent Kubrick collaborator, the film is budgeted at$10m and should be ready for Toronto. Film is co-produced by Europa, MichaelFitzgerald and director Cook. Europa will have a promo reel available on theirstand.
Sales will also commence on the Jodie Foster directed FloraPlum which Europa is executive producing along with Barry MendelProductions. The $24m project was in effect rescued by Europa late last yearfollowing the sidelining of former star Russell Crowe who suffered a dislocatedshoulder on the Australian set of the film in 2000. Casting reportedly includesEwan McGregor, Meryl Streep and Foster with a possible Kirsten Dunst in forClaire Danes who was originally cast opposite Crowe.
Plum will begin shooting in March or April 2005.Paramount has North American rights.