Hot French star BenoitMagimel (The Piano Teacher) has beentipped to star as Jacques Mesrine in Barbet Schroeder's upcoming two-partadaptation of books written by the career criminal.

The first instalment of thefilm, The Death Instinct, is based onMesrine's autobiography L'Instinct DeMort, written during one of the prison terms of France's Public EnemyNumber One.

The second part, fittinglytitled The Public Enemy, is based on Coupable D'Etre Innocent which tells ofMesrine's life in Quebec, his different run-ins with the law and a prisonbreak.

Production company La PetiteReine, headed up by Thomas Langmann, is not commenting on the film's budget butsaid that shooting is likely to begin in summer 2005. The script adaptation isbeing handled by A Very Long Engagement andAmelie writer Guillaume Laurant.

Vincent Cassel was attachedto the project as Mesrine, but has since dropped out. Other possible castmembers include Sandrine Bonnaire, Alain Delon, Gerard Lanvin and LudivineSagnier.