UK actor Rupert Friend (Pride & Prejudice) and Jean-Marc Barr (Dancer In The Dark) are attached as cast for US writer-director Tony Pemberton's $ 4.5m gangster movie Buddha's Little Finger based on the novel of the same name by Victor Pelewin.

The film's Berlin-based producer Rohfilm has brought Mikhail Kalatozov's Kalatozov Fund onboard as Russian partner and has received backing from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, MDM and MEDIA Development . Pemberton's own company Goeast Film is also serving as co-producer for the project which was pitched at last year's Berlinale Co-Production Market.

Speaking exclusively to Screen, Rohfilm's Karsten Stoeter and Benny Drechsel said that they are in talks for pre-sales to sales agents and European distributors and will be looking to bring another European producer to join as co-producer on the project which would be shot at locations in Moscow from late summer 2007.

Before this, the duo are set to begin principal photography next month in Kirghizia and Kazakhstan on Kazakh director Marat Saralu's Songs From The Southern Seas which charts two decades of strife between Russian and Kazakh neighbours .

The $1.8m (Euros 1.4m project), which has been supported by the Berlinale World Cinema Fund, MDM and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, is being co-produced with Russia's Kinoproba and stars Anna Mikhalkova (Playing The Victim), daughter of producer-director Nikita, and Viktor Suchorukov (The Island). Kinoprokat will distribute in Russia.