TF1 International has acquired the latest film from director Francis Veber, L'Emmerdeur, and will also serve as a co-producer.
Shooting is to begin in March on the film which stars Richard Berry and Patrick Timsit. Patrice Ledoux's Pulsar Productions is producing with TFM Distribution set to release in France in December 2008.
The film is based on Veber's own stage play which previously inspired Edouard Molinaro's 1973 film of the same name starring Lino Ventura and Jacques Brel.
The comedy tells the story of professional hit man Ralf Milan (Berry) who is hunkered down in a Nice hotel room staking out a key witness in a gangland trial. In the next room, Francois Pignon (Timsit) is in the process of bungling his suicide attempt. Milan finds himself playing nursemaid to the inept Pignon. The meeting could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Ledoux previously produced Veber's La Doublure and Le Placard for Gaumont.
Veber told ScreenDaily.com that his decision to revisit the story - which is being called A Pain In The Ass in English - was based on his feeling that the concept is one of his strongest. As recently as two years ago, Veber brought the story to life on stage with Berry and Timsit in the lead roles and chose to direct his own feature adaptation based in part on that experience.
With no disrespect to Molinaro's 1973 version, Veber says, 'When you are a screenwriter who has gone on to direct, there is a sense of frustration over the scripts you didn't direct yourself. I don't judge the others but it's not necessarily one's own music.'
Also on TF1's EFM line up are I Come With The Rain from Tran Anh Hung and Johnny Mad Dog by director Jean-Stephane Sauviare. The former stars Josh Hartnett, Elias Koteas and Takuya Kimura and is a modern thriller exploring the fine line between carnal passion and violence. Mad Dog, co-produced by Mathieu Kassovitz, is a drama about African child soldiers. Promo reels for both films will be available in Berlin.
Rounding out the line up are Jean-Paul Salome's well-received wartime action picture Female Agents starring Sophie Marceau and Julie Depardieu and comic road movie Off And Running. The latter, from director Tonie Marshall, stars Nathalie Baye and Edouard Baer.