France’s Diaphana Distribution has picked up Haitian-born Raoul Peck’s long-gestating project, The Young Karl Marx.

The film centres on the budding friendship between Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-19th century.

The title character is played by August Diehl. Stefan Konarske, one of the stars of Philip Koch’s Outside The Box, plays Engels.

Konarske replaces Alexander Fehling, who left the role to play the boyfriend of Claire Danes’ character in US TV drama Homeland.

The film is a French-German-Belgian co-production between agat films & Cie and Peck’s own company Velvet Film, with Berlin and Leipzig-based Rohfilm and Belgian producer Patrick Quinet’s Artemis Film.

Shooting began at the beginning of September and continue for nine weeks to Nov 7.

Sales agent Films Distribution pre-sold the feature to Germany’s Neue Visionen Filmverleih at this year’s Berlinale.