Metropolitan Filmexport has bought French distributionrights to Hostage, the BruceWillis-starring action thriller financed by Stratus Film Company.

The film is directed by French national Florent Emilio Siri,who previously directed local-language action title The Nest (Nid De Guepes). Headed by Sami and Victor Hadida, Metropolitan is the largestindependent in France regularly handling genre and action titles,

Syndicate Films International handles international salesrights to the film and previously sold North American rights to Miramax Films.

Scripted by Robert Crais from his own novel, Hostage tells the story of an LAPD hostage negotiator (Willis) who moves tothe countryside to become the chief of a small-town police department after abloody standoff. But in the small town, he immediately meets trouble after hiswife and daughter are kidnapped.

The film, which is in production, is by Stratus, EquityPictures and Cheyenne Enterprises. The film's producers are Cheyenne partnersArnold Rifkin and Willis and Stratus partners Bob Yari and Mark Gordon. HowardKoch and David Wally are executive producers. Rifkin and Cheyenne firstoptioned the film rights to Hostage from Crais in 2001 and hired Siri to direct it.Stratus then boarded the film to finance.

Kevin Pollack, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Serena ScottThomas, Marshall Allman, Michelle Horn and Jimmy Bennett also star.

Stratus Film Company's first film Laws Of Attractionstarring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore opened on 30 April in the US throughNew Line, notching an opening weekend gross of $6.73m.