Wild Bunch is entering the AFM with a series of new films from James Gray, Jean Dujardin [pictured], Thomas Langmann and Leos Carax among many others.
The untitled James Gray project stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and Gray regular Joaquin Phoenix. Shooting in January in New York, the period piece is set in 1920 where an immigrant Polish woman is forced to fend for herself after her sister is quarantined at Ellis Island. Navigating Manhattan, Cotillard’s character is coerced into prostitution by Phoenix’s club owner until she meets his magician cousin played by Renner, who may - or may not - be the one to save her.
Darius Khondji is shooting the film which is a Worldview-Wild Bunch co-production produced by Gray, Anthony Katagas and Greg Shapiro. CAA is handling the US, Wild Bunch has the rest of the world.
In other Gray/Cotillard news, Screen is hearing Wild Bunch could be close to boarding the English-language directing debut of Guillaume Canet. Co-writing with Gray, Canet is preparing a remake of Jacques Maillot’s 2008 film Blood Ties (Les Liens Du Sang), the story of rival brothers. Canet starred in the original film but it is unclear if he will step in front of the camera for the new version. However, Screen has heard that Mark Wahlberg could come aboard with Canet’s partner Cotillard and Avatar’s Zoe Saldana also starring.
Meanwhile, Wild Bunch is reteaming with some of the team behind awards season favourite The Artist for The Players, a comedy portmanteau written by Artist star Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche. Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval says the film, a series of seven sketches all based on the theme of infidelity, falls somewhere between 1977’s Viva Italia! and The Hangover with a bit of Desperate Housewives and Sex And The City rolled in.
Among the directors of the seven vignettes are The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius, Dujardin, Lellouche, Fred Cavaye, Jan Kounen, Emmanuelle Bercot and Eric Lartigau. Stars include Dujardin and Lellouche’s real-life partners Alexandre Lamy and Melanie Doutey along with Guillaume Canet, Sandrine Kiberlain and Isabelle Nanty. The film will go out via Mars in France in March.
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Also on the lineup is Maniac, a remake of William Lustig’s 1980 serial killer film. Produced by The Artist’s Thomas Langmann, the film is directed by Franck Khalfoun and godfathered by Alexandre Aja who will do a special presentation at the AFM. Elijah Wood stars as an LA-based murderer with a fetish for scalps.
Wild Bunch is also handling the latest film from Leos Carax, Holly Motors. Set over the course of one 24-hour period, the film follows Denis Lavant as a man who travels through various different lives. Kylie Minogue and Michel Piccoli also star. It has also recently been rumored that Eva Mendes will play a part in the picture which will be ready for Cannes.
Even The Rain director Iciar Bollain and screenwriter Paul Laverty are reteaming for the Wild Bunch-repped Kathmandu Lullaby, based on the true story of a Spanish woman who embarks on an ambitious educational project in the poverty-stricken Kathmandu slums. Bunny And The Bull’s Veronica Echegui stars in the English-language picture which will be ready for Berlin.
On the documentary front, Wild Bunch is handling Alvaro Longoria’s Sons Of The Clouds: The Last Colony. The project was initiated by Javier Bardem, who also stars and produces. The film examines the current political turmoil in Northern Africa as Bardem embarks on a journey in Western Sahara to show the tortuous path of world diplomacy and the terrible reality of an abandoned people, in a region that is on the brink of war. HBO has the US rights while producer Morena Film has retained Spain.