Focus Features International and Brazilian production company 02 Filmes are collaborating on the thriller VIPs in their first joint venture since Adrift.

Toniko Melo is currently directing on location in Sao Paolo, Angra Dos Reis and Paraty in time for a 2010 release in Brazil through UPI.

02 partners Fernando Meirelles and Paulo Morelli are producing and Bel Berlinck serves as executive producer.

Wagner Moura stars in the project, adapted by City Of God screenwriter Braulio Mantovani from Mariana Caltabiano’s book VIP’sA Liar’s True about the real-life story of the conman Marcelo Da Rocha.

Gisele Froes, Norival Rizzo, Roger Golbeth, Arieta Correa, Julaino Cazarre and Argentine actor Jorge D’Elia round out the primary cast.

VIPs is a fascinating film about much more than just a conman’s life,” Meirelles said. “This is the story of somebody trying to discover who he is. There is a bit of Marcelo in all of us, as we always act differently depending on the situation we are in.”

Heitor Dhalia’s Adrift screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last summer and was recently released in Brazil by UPI.

“We’re so pleased to be working with O2 Filmes again on VIPs, and with an exciting new director in Toniko Melo,” Focus Features International co-CEO Christian Grass said.

“What we liked about Braulio’s script is that he’s created a story that has universal appeal – a compelling, fast-paced adventure movie which we hope will attract audiences around the world.”