French helmer Thompson sets U.S. bow for Mirage

Film adapted from 'Femme de l'Amant' telepic

PARIS — French helmer Daniele Thompson (“La Buche”) is developing an English-language project that will be co-produced by Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella’s Mirage with Studio Canal’s Les Films Alain Sarde.

Pic, to be shot in the U.S. next year, will be an adaptation of “La Femme de l’Amant” (The Lover’s Wife) a telepic Thompson penned for a French network some years ago.

Rodrigo Garcia, the son of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and helmer of “Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her,” is writing the U.S. adaptation. The two main characters, who also appeared in a novelized version of the story written by Thompson, will be a woman of 40 and a young girl of 20.

Thompson told Daily Variety: “I’ve always regretted not making a feature film out of “La Femme de l’Amant,’ and having been influenced by American cinema myself, I’m looking forward to making a film in the U.S.”

Daughter of legendary French helmer Gerard Oury, Thompson is one of France’s most accomplished screenwriters, and has written or contributed to more than 20 scripts dating back to the 1966 “La Grande Vadrouille.”

She and Pollack are long-standing friends who served on the Cannes Intl. Film Festival jury together a number of years back.

Thompson began principal photography this week on her second directorial effort, the Studio Canal-backed $10 million French romantic comedy “Jet Lag,” starring Jean Reno and Juliette Binoche. Pic tells the story of an unlikely airport encounter between a jaded international businessman and a beautician.

Thompson admitted to being taken aback by the enthusiasm American critics showed for “La Buche,” which was also a hit with reviewers and audiences alike in her native France.

Pic, a bittersweet comedy about the secrets that emerge during a family’s festive season celebrations, was compared by one critic to “a good Woody Allen film”.

Said Thompson: “I remember Mike Nichols called me from the States first thing in the morning to tell me about the reviews. It was thrilling to receive such glowing praise from America.”

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