VARIETY – Olga Kurylenko will lead a female-led cast in “The Courier,” a London-set action thriller from Zackary Adler (“The Rise of the Krays”).
Kurylenko (“Quantum of Solace”) will play the titular courier, whose daily deliveries are interrupted when she discovers that her latest package is a bomb aimed at the witness of a crime lord’s murder. She then embarks on a race against time to save the target from corrupt CIA agents and Russian mercenaries.
Marc Goldberg (“The Hatton Garden Job”), Andrew Pendergast (“An American Exorcism”), and Elizabeth Williams (“Final Score”) are producing. James Edward Barker (“Mara”) will also produce through Rollercoaster Angel Productions, the new firm he has formed with Adler, who has a pedigree in British crime drama.
The project comes from Signature Films, the production arm of distributor Signature Entertainment. Shooting will take place on location in London and will get underway in the coming months. Blue Box will be handling international sales, starting at AFM.
Barker said “The Courier” will be an “exceptionally dramatic and, more importantly, female-driven, high-octane action thriller.” He added: “With Zack at the helm and Olga Kurylenko as the protagonist, I think we have the complete jigsaw to a commercial new action franchise.”
VARIETY – Wild Bunch, Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor and Mars Distribution are re-teaming on “The Translators,” director Regis Roinsard’s high-profile French thriller inspired by recent hacking scandals involving books and films such as “Pirates of the Caribbeans: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”
One of the most ambitious projects currently being developed in France, the $13 million film will star an international cast headlined by Olga Kurylenko (“Death of Stalin”), Lambert Wilson (“Of Gods and Men”), Alex Lawther (“The Imitation Game”), Riccardo Scamarcio (“Romanzo Criminale”), Sisde Babette Knudsen (“Westworld”) and Sara Giraudeau (“The Bureau”).
The film follows the journey of nine translators who have been picked by a ruthless publisher and locked in a luxury bunker to translate the highly anticipated book of a famous author in record time. Although the translators are confined to prevent any kind of leak because of the high financial stakes, a crisis erupts when someone posts the first 10 pages of the novel online and blackmails the publisher to pay 5 million euros. A hunt for the culprit inside the bunker unfolds.
Roinsard said the concept of “The Translators” stems from the true story of author Dan Brown’s U.S. publishers, who had decided, with his consent, to shut away several international translators in a secret bunker to launch “Inferno” simultaneously across the globe to avoid all piracy and illegal editions. The book ended up generating $250 million.
“I was amazed by the story of this all-out, no-brakes race against the clock, incredible yet so symptomatic of our times. I asked myself: What if the book had been stolen? I imagined a new genre of robbery, the 21st century heist,” said Roinsard. He wrote the script of “The Translators” with Romain Compingt and Daniel Presley, who had penned with him his feature debut “Populaire.”
Compingt went on to earn a Cesar Award nomination for the script of “Divines,” which won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight.
“I’m eager to work with Regis Roinsard, who showed his talent and originality with ‘Populaire,’ and work again with Mars Distribution and Wild Bunch to re-form the dream team of ‘Populaire,’” said Attal, noting that Wild Bunch had sold “Populaire” nearly worldwide in 2012 and made more than $2 million in international sales.
Attal told Variety that “The Translators” is a character-driven thriller that will feel contemporary and realistic, as it’s based on hours of interviews with translators who work on bestsellers, notably books by reclusive author Thomas Pynchon and the pseudonymous Elena Ferrante.
The film will mix the suspense of films like Francois Ozon’s “8 Women” with the action of heist movies like “Ocean’s Eleven” and a brain-twisting dimension as in “The Usual Suspects,” said the producer.
On top of handling worldwide sales, Wild Bunch is co-producing “The Translators” with Mars Distribution and Les Productions du Tresor. Mars Distribution will release the film in France.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Mike White’s Brad’s Status, starring Ben Stiller, and The Death of Stalin, from Veep creator Armando Iannucci, will compete in the Platform juried competition at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.
Iannucci’s second feature — based on a graphic novel and starring Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Olga Kurylenko and Homeland star Rupert Friend — will open the Platform sidebar. In all, 11 indie titles will vie for a $25,000 first prize. The winner to be chosen by a jury that comprises directors Wim Wenders, Malgorzata Szumowska and Palme d’Or winner Chen Kaige.
The Platform lineup also includes Brad’s Status, a comedy from Amazon Studios, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment that stars Stiller alongside Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer and Luke Wilson. Annapurna Pictures and Amazon Studios will jointly release the comedy domestically on Sept. 15.
The 2017 edition will also give world bows to two U.K. films, Michael Pearce’s Beast and Clio Barnard’s Dark River, led by The Affair star Ruth Wilson; and three films from France: Xavier Legrand’s Custody, headed to Toronto after competing in Venice, Joan Chemla’s If You Saw His Heart and Morrocan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch’s Razzia, which revisits the 1942 classic Casablanca.
TIFF launched the Platform competition two years ago to spotlight foreign-language titles coming into the September event without distribution or Hollywood studio backing. The 2017 edition will also debut Iram Haq’s What Will People Say, Kamila Andini’s The Seen and Unseen, Lisa Langseth’s Euphoria and Barbara Albert’s Mademoiselle Paradis, an 18th century drama that stars Maria-Victoria Dragus in the true story of a gifted piano player who knew Mozart in Vienna.
Platform in part aims to get Toronto back to its roots as an international film festival with the glitz and glamor of Hollywood stars, but also a renewed focus on foreign-language, auteur-driven titles. This year’s competition will close with Australian filmmaker Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, which gets a North American bow here after first competing in Venice. Last year’s Platform competition included the Oscar best-picture winner Moonlight from director Barry Jenkins and Natalie Portman’s Jackie biopic.
Offering the Platform competition along with its long-standing People’s Choice audience awards comes as Toronto increasingly competes with the Telluride and Venice festivals for the latest work by international filmmakers. The 2017 Toronto International Film Festival kicks off Sept. 7 with the Shia LaBeouf-starrer Borg/McEnroe, and closes Sept. 17 with C’est la vie!, by directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.
VARIETY – Saban Films has acquired North American distribution rights to Simon West’s action movie “Gun Shy,” starring Antonio Banderas and Olga Kurylenko.
West directed the film — formerly titled “Salty” — from a script by Toby Davies and Mark Haskell Smith, adapted from Mark Haskell Smith’s novel “Salty.” West and Jib Polhemus produced under the Simon West Productions banner, alongside Harry Stourton.
“Gun Shy” follows an aging mid-level rock star whose supermodel wife (Kurylenko) is suddenly kidnapped while they are vacationing in Chile. Accustomed to his superstar lifestyle and lacking basic life skills, he finds himself having to navigate the back alleys of Santiago and South American jungles in order to save his wife from the renegades.
When the film was announced in 2014, the story was set in Thailand with the wife being kidnapped by pirates while elephant trekking.
“‘Gun Shy’ is a supremely entertaining film,” said Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley. “Our audiences will delight in Antonio Banderas’ raucous performance and director Simon West’s unique and wild vision.”
West’s directing credits include “The Expendables 2,” “Con Air,” “The General’s Daughter,” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” “Gun Shy” hits theaters on Sept. 8.
Ness Saban and Bromiley negotiated the deal on behalf of Saban Films, with London-based Carnaby International handling worldwide rights.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Olga Kurylenko will star at the titular character in the crime thriller Jane Millen, written and directed by Cynthia Mort (Nina, The Brave One).
The story centers on Jane (Kurylenko), a seasoned cop battling her own demons. She is put on a suspicious murder case of an affluent couple who got mixed up with the wrong man, and as her investigation takes her down a rabbit hole, affairs, jealousies and dark secrets emerge that threaten to involve her own private life.
13 Films president Tannaz Anisi is producing the pic alongside Karen Kehela Sherwood (A Beautiful Mind, Blue Crush, Inside Man) and former Endgame executive Greg Schenz. Jai Khanna of Brillstein Entertainment Partners is serving as executive producer.
The film, slated to begin production in April, will be introduced to buyers at the upcoming American Film Market by 13 Films, which is structuring the financing and packaging of the project as well as handling worldwide sales.
“Olga’s experience in portraying strong, complicated characters, as well as the depth of her talent, not only inspires tremendous confidence, but also great excitement about what she will bring to this role,” Mort said Tuesday in a statement.
Mort wrote the crime thriller The Brave One for Warner Bros., which earned star Jodie Foster a Golden Globe nomination. Mort most recently wrote and directed the Nina Simone biopic Nina, starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo.
Kurylenko was most recently seen in Giuseppe Tornatore’s La Corrispondenza with Jeremy Irons and A Perfect Day co-starring Benicio del Toro and Tim Robbins, which debuted at Cannes in 2015. Her credits include The November Man co-starring Pierce Brosnan, Oblivion with Tom Cruise, Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder and Quantum of Solace opposite Daniel Craig. Kurylenko is repped by WME and Tavistock Wood Management in the U.K.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Armando Iannucci’s first post-Veep feature film project, The Death of Stalin, has lined up an all-star cast.
Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Timothy Dalton, Toby Kebbel, Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine and Andrea Riseborough are in advanced negotiations to star, producers Gaumont confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Quad Films is developing the project, which is adapted from the French graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin set during the chaotic days of political infighting that followed the 1953 death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
Buscemi will play Nikita Khrushchev, while Tambor will star as Georgy Malenkov and Dalton as Georgy Zhukov.