Alexander Rodnyansky, a well-known Russian film producer, plans to invest up to $12m in the production of Billy Bob Thornton’s drama Jayne Mansfield’s Car, which will be Rodnyansky’s first project in the US.

The production of the film, which is set in the Southern US in the late 1960s, should be completed this year (it is shooting in Georgia). The release is scheduled for 2012.ia.

Thornton will act in, direct and also co-wrote the film. The cast also features Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon and Ray Stevenson.

Geyer Kosinski (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Changeling) will be a co-producer of the film. There will be no Russian component in the film.

Pre-sales are expected to be done in Toronto or later at Sundance.

The expansion in the US market is part of Rodnyansky’s global plans to build an international film company. At present his AR Films company already controls the Russian production company Non-Stop Production as well as the local distributor Cinema Without Borders.

In addition, in April this year it acquired a majority stake in the German A Company, which is a distributor of Western cinema in Eastern Europe. The amount of the deal is estimated in the range of €7.5m-10m.

Rodnyansky [pictured] has said recently that his main goal is the creation of an international company with strong distribution positions in Central and Eastern Europe and production capacities in Russia and the US.

Rodnyansky’s credits include Innocent Saturday, East-West, 9th Company and Elena.