Cliffhanger director to oversee mob thriller from Belgium’s Umedia.

Renny Harlin, best known for directing Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and the more recent Legend of Hercules, is to direct acion thriller Fallen Cross, which is slated to go into production this winter 2014 for Belgium outfit Umedia.

Umedia CEO Adrian Politowski and Karl Richards will produce the film, from a screenplay by David Christopher O’Neill.

The story follows reformed ex-mafia enforcer Timothy Cole in his struggle to protect his family from the crime syndicate he once served – The Chicago Cross. But first he must find a way to escape the confines of prison and return to his ruthless killer ways to cut down the Cross before they can get to his children.

The title rounds out Umedia’s active development slate, joining Universal War One based on the Marvel-published comic books which is currently being adapted by Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine); the action heist film Risk directed by The Fast and the Furious’s Rob Cohen; and romantic comedy Priceless directed by Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone).

Harlin said: “Fallen Cross is a thrilling, smart, and character driven story with the kind of deep emotions and bad ass action I love to get my hands on.”

Describing the film, Harlin said the Chicago-set film centres on an American mob enforcer working for the Russian mafia. He added: “I am extremely excited to be building a franchise around these intriguing characters.”

Film group Umedia deals in production and financing, VFX, international sales and Benelux distribution with offices in Brussels, London, Paris and LA. It has invested in features including The Artist, Grace of Monaco, The Fifth Estate and The Best Offer, and is in post-production on The Kidnapping of Freddy Heineken, starring Anthony Hopkins, Sam Worthington and Jim Sturgess.