Continuing the trend towards comic book adaptations in France, Tanguy And Laverdure will be next to get the big-screen treatment.

The tale of two fighter pilots is set to be directed by Gerard Pires, who previously directed the first Taxi film and made last year's Riders. Pires is also a pilot himself.

The original comics were created in the 1960s by Michel Charlier and Albert Uderzo. The film's script will be written by Gilles Malancon who recently worked with Luc Besson on the film version of another comic book transfer, Michel Vaillant.

Producer Laurent Brochand of Outsider Productions told Screendaily "I noticed the rights were available about a year and a half ago and Tanguy was a favorite of mine when I was young. I realised that we've never made a film with planes in France."

Brochand added that he thought this film about "French pilots with panache," would be fantastic for young people.

With a budget between Euros15 and 20m, the film will start shooting in early 2004 on air bases in Dijon and then Djibouti. Casting is being discussed but Brochand says they are likely to wait until the script is finished around mid-July.

The film is co-produced by Brochand and Nicolas and Eric Altmayer's Mandarin Films.