EXCLUSIVE: Wild Bunch to launch new films from Verhoeven, Noé, Kechiche as well as Spring Breakers 2Maniac Cop remake and market premiere Welcome to New York.

Paris-based sales and production powerhouse Wild Bunch has unveiled a packed Cannes slate, featuring future films from Paul Verhoeven, Gaspar Noé and Abdellatif Kechiche as well as Spring Breakers 2 and the remake of Maniac Cop.  

The untitled Paul Verhoeven project is an adaptation of French writer Philippe Djian’s 2012 novel Oh!, revolving around a psychological game of cat-and-mouse between a businesswoman and a stalker who raped her, a crime for which she is seeking revenge.

“Casting is being finalised. It’s a very intelligent script but it’s also pure Verhoeven, extremely erotic and perverted, so the actress has to be prepared to take that on,” said Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval.

Wild Bunch will also launch Spring Breakers: The Second Coming, in which the Spring Breakers do battle with an extreme militant Christian sect that attempts to convert them.

Scottish writer Irvine Welsh has written the screenplay and Swedish Jonus Akerlund will direct. Wild Bunch sold his 2002 film, Spun.

“It’s not a direct sequel although there are allusions to some of the characters in the original,” says Maraval, adding there will be a mix of new and old cast in the production.

LA-based Muse Productions, which owns the concept to the first film, is producing alongside Wild Bunch and French distributor Mars Films.

Other new additions to the Wild Bunch slate include the remake of 1980s cult classic Maniac Cop revolving around the hunt for a New York serial killer. 

The production is spearheaded by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, who is producing alongside William Lustig, director of the original, and Wild Bunch. The director will be announced in Cannes.

The script is written by Ed Brubaker, whose credits include Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Noé’s Love

Wild Bunch will also unveil Gaspar Noé’s next film, Love, “a sexual melodrama about a boy and a girl and another girl”.  It marks his first solo feature-length film since Enter The Void in 2009.

“We’ll have a visual and a note of intention at Cannes,” said Maraval. “It’s a love story, which celebrates sex in a joyous way. Gaspar feels that most films that touch on sex in traditional cinema are dark and dramatic, this will be really joyous… He says it’s a film that will give guys ‘a hard-on and make girls cry’.”

It is co-produced by Wild Bunch with Brazilian outfit RT Features and Oscar-winning Thomas Langmann’s Paris-based La Petite Reine.  

The English-language production is due to shoot in June, probably in Paris.

Other highly anticipated films on the slate include Palme d’Or winner Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Real Wound, revolving around a French-Tunisian teenage boy’s bid to lose his virginity while on holiday in the resort of Hammamet in Tunisia.

It is a loose adaption of La Blessure, La Vraie by French writer François Bégaudeau, whose early novel Entre Les Murs, a memoir about his teaching days, was adapted by Laurent Cantet into the Palme d’Or winning and Oscar-nominated The Class.

“He wanted to adapt it before La Vie d’Adele: Chapitre 1 & 2 but then got caught up in that production,” said Maraval, referring to the graphic novel that provided the inspiration for last year’s Palme d’Or winner, Blue is the Warmest Colour (aka Adele: Chapters 1 & 2).

The film, produced by Leblebi Films, Wild Bunch and Vertigo, is due to shoot in Tunisia in August, for a 2015 delivery. The cast will be announced in Cannes.

Other new projects include Arnaud Desplechin’s Three Memories of Childhood, a portrait of a man as he looks back over three periods in his childhood and adolescence that shaped his life.

It is produced by long-time collaborator Wild Bunch collaborator Pascal Caucheteux of Paris-based Why Not Productions.

Other previously announced new additions to Wild Bunch’s Cannes slate include The Little Prince, Strangerland, Gentlemen and Blood Father.

The latter is set to star Mel Gibson as a former drug addict and convict seeking redemption by trying to protect his daughter after she is framed for stealing from a drug cartel by a criminal boyfriend. Erin Moriarty, previously seen in True Detective and The Watch, plays the daughter.

The English-language thriller is French director Jean-François Richet’s first film since the 2008 double bill Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 and Mesrine: Killer Instinct. It is based on a novel by Peter Craig, whose previous credits include The Town.

Beyond these new projects, Wild Bunch will also market premiere Abel Ferrara’s highly anticipated Welcome to New Yorkstarring Gérard Depardieu in a role inspired by disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss Kahn.

It is also planning its own midnight screening somewhere on the fringes of Cannes on April 17, to coincide with a Europe-wide VOD release.

The company is also handling a number of Official Selection titles including Palme d’Or contenders The Search by Michel Hazanavicius; Two Days, One Night by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; Goodbye To Language by Jean-Luc Godard; Jimmy’s Hall by Ken Loach; the out-of-competition entry Coming Home by Zhang Yimou; and Gabe Polsky’s documentary Red Army, which will premiere in a special screening.

It is also selling Japanese Mayazaki collaborator Isao Takahata’s The Tale Of The Princess, which is screening in Directors’ Fortnight. It is Takahata’s first film in 14 years since My Neighbours The Yamadas.