Babak Najafi will direct the sequel for producer Fredrik Wikstrom.

Babak Najafi, whose last film was Berlinale buzz title Sebbe, will direct the sequel to the Swedish hit movie Easy Money.

Casting is underway now for the shoot to start in August. The title of the new film is not yet decided, but the working title is simply Easy Money 2.

The lead in Easy Money, which was based on the best-selling novel by Jens Lapidus and was about a young drug dealer in the Stockholm underworld, was played by Joel Kinnaman. The success of the film gave him a Hollywood career, with leading roles in the new US remake of TV series The Killing and the upcoming sci-fi thriller The Darkest Hour.

Fredrik Wikstrom, who produced the first film and who will produce the sequel as well, can’t yet confirm if Kinnaman will return or not. He told Screen: “I have to be boring. When it comes to the casting, I can only say ‘no comment’ right now.”

When Screen met Kinnaman at the set of The Darkest Hour in Moscow in September, he said that he would very much like to be involved in the Easy Money sequel, as long as the script was as good as the first.

Easy Money had a budget of $5m. Wikstrom says the budget for the sequel, which will be produced for Tre Vanner, will probably exceed that sum.

“This film will be tougher and more intense than the first film, and we want to raise the bar for Swedish thrillers internationally,” Wikstrom says.

With its audience of more than 600,000, Easy Money was the biggest domestic hit of 2010. It has been sold to more than 30 countries, and Zac Efron is on board for the US remake.

Daniel Espinosa, who directed the first film, will now serve as executive producer on the sequel. He is currently in pre-production on his first US film, Denzel Washington starrer Safe House.

Najafi is a 35-year-old Iranian-born director who has lived in Sweden since he was 12. Sebbe, about a lonely 15-year-old boy, won best debut feature at the Berlinale.