Jordan to helm noir remake

Canal Plus sells 'Bob Le Flambeur' rights to WB

Neil Jordan is to write and direct an English-language version of the French film noir classic “Bob Le Flambeur” for Warner Bros.

WB has purchased the remake rights to “Bob” from French major Canal Plus. Warner and Canal will co-finance the comedy-drama, the title of which translates as “Bob the Gambler.”

Pic is the story of an aging gambler and his determination to end a lifelong streak of bad luck by pulling off the ultimate casino heist.

Jordan and his producing partner Stephen Woolley will produce, together with “ER” exec producer John Wells.

The 1955 B&W “Bob” was produced and directed by French helmer Jean-Pierre Melville, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Auguste Le Breton. Critics consider “Bob,” which starred Isabelle Corey, Daniel Cauchy and Roger Duchesne, to be one of Melville’s most accessible pics.

The low-budget film became an instant hit and an important precursor of the French New Wave.

In June, Wells’ moniker John Wells Prods. signed an exclusive and highly lucrative TV production deal with WB. As part of that, Wells also negotiated a first-look pact with Warners for feature films.

Jordan and Woolley, who are close to DreamWorks’ principal David Geffen, signed a production deal at that studio earlier this year. The duo’s first film with DreamWorks, the psychological thriller “In Dreams,” starring Annette Bening, Aidan Quinn, Robert Downey Jr. and Stephen Rea, is slated for an early 1999 release.

But, via Geffen’s pre-DreamWorks incarnation, Geffen Pictures, Jordan and Woolley also have a long-standing relationship with WB. The studio has distributed a number of their pics, including “Interview With the Vampire,” “Michael Collins” and “The Butcher Boy.”

“Bob” is the second high-powered remake that Canal Plus has set up this year. Ben Edlund is writing and helming a remake of “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” for Universal Pictures. That pic is set to be produced by David Zucker, Robert LoCash and Gil Netter.

Jordan is repped by ICM.

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