Canada's Alliance Atlantis and the UK's Momentum Pictures have confirmed that UK studio franchise The Film Consortium has boarded their $28m action comedy 51st State (ScreenDaily, August 17).

Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Carlyle will star in the film which follows an American chemist planning a once-in-a-lifetime drug deal in Liverpool. Ronny Yu is to direct from a script by British first-timer Stel Pavlou, Simon Davis Barry and David Leland. Emily Mortimer, Rhys Ifans, Ricky Tomlinson, Sean Pertwee and singer Meatloaf round out the cast.

Alliance Atlantis holds worldwide rights to the film which Momentum, a joint venture between Alliance and Germany's Kinowelt, will release in the UK. Former Alliance president Andras Hamori is producing along with current president Seaton McLean, Jonathan Debin and Samuel L. Jackson. David Pupkewitz and Malcolm Kohll of UK-based Focus Films will also produce. Executive producers are Artist Management Group's co-founder Julie Yorn with managers Eli Selden and Stephanie Davis.

The film is scheduled to start shooting in Liverpool for 10 weeks from September 25.