“The Crying Game” star and best actor Oscar nominee Stephen Rea is coming back to U.S. art houses in “Bad Behavior,” acquired by upstart indie distributor October Films yesterday.

Directed by Les Blair, “Bad Behavior” features Rea as a 40-year-old bureaucrat and amateur cartoonist who is too busy fending off a seductress, a real estate swindler and identical twin bathroom renovators to deal with the mid-life crisis he feels entitled to.

October tentatively plans to release “Bad Behavior” in September. The pic is Rea’s follow-up to “The Crying Game.” Terms of the deal could not be confirmed.

Rea is currently starring on Broadway in the hostage drama “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.”

“Bad Behavior” was produced by Sarah Curtis and exec produced by Sally Hibbin. Pic was screened at the American Film Market and acquired in negotiations with Film Four Intl. head of sales Bill Stephens.

In a statement, Stephens said October’s “marketing and sheer hard work” on the 1992 release “Life Is Sweet” convinced Film Four to do the deal with October.

Acquisition of “Bad Behavior” gives New York-based October a one-two punch in the fall season. As previously reported, the feisty indie acquired the Sundance Film Festival’s co-Grand Jury Prize winner “Ruby in Paradise” for a release in October (Daily Variety, Feb. 26).

The company plans to deal for at least one additional 1993 release in the months to come.

October co-managing partner Jeff Lipsky described “Bad Behavior” as an “outright comedy,” which contrasts to the hard edges of such recent indie releases as “The Crying Game,””Reservoir Dogs” and “Bad Lieutenant.”

He said, “In the days of the Quentin Tarantinos and Abel Ferraras, this is a breath of fresh air.”

Bingham Ray, who runs October along with Lipsky, Amir Malin and John Schmidt, said the distributor jumped at the movie because of the strong ensemble cast — headed by Rea in a role “completely different from ‘The Crying Game.’ ” Cast includes co-star Sinead Cusack and “Quadrophenia” star Phil Daniels.

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