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.