King to pen remake of popular French pic

Artists Production Group and StudioCanal have jointly optioned the remake rights to produce the popular 1981 French film “Le Professionnel,” with scribe Jeff King (“Josiah’s Canon”) attached to pen the remake.

With a total of 5.2 million tickets sold in 1981, “Le Professionnel” (not to be confused with Luc Besson’s 1994 “The Professional”) is one of the most-seen films on France’s admission list.

“When ‘Le Professionnel’ first was released, the lead character of Joss Beaumont became a household name throughout Europe,” said APG prexy Cathy Schulman. “We hope to update and internationalize this sexy, exciting spy character for the rest of the world to enjoy.”

Betrayal, revenge

In the remake of “Le Professionnel” an elite CIA agent is sent on a top-secret mission in a foreign nation to assassinate its brutal dictator. At the last moment, the political climate changes and members of the spy’s own division turn him in to authorities in the foreign nation.

King, repped by Broder Kurland Webb Uffner, most recently completed work on Columbia Pictures’ “Lions Game” for producer Mace Neufeld. He also penned “The Flight of the Phoenix” and “Josiah’s Canon,” which Brad Silberling will direct. Both pics are set up at Fox.

Supervising team

StudioCanal’s Stephane Sperry and Schulman will oversee the project, which Ron Halpern of StudioCanal and Maya Richards of APG identified for a remake. APG’s Steve Barnett will supervise development with Richards.

StudioCanal retains worldwide distribution rights (except for North America) to the APG/StudioCanal co-venture’s films.

APG is the feature film production division of Artists Management Group. In its first two years of operation, APG’s slate of projects include Ed Burns’ “Sidewalks of New York,” to be released by Paramount Classics on July 20; Michael Crichton’s “Timeline,” in pre-production for Paramount Pictures; Tom Clancy’s “Rainbow Six” and “Without Remorse,” also at Paramount; and Tess Gerritson’s “Gravity,” set up at Fox.

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