Vinterberg grabs ‘Maldonne’ novel

Assassination story penned by suspense duo Boileau, Narcejac

Nimbus Films, the Copenhagen-based shingle of Dogma95 helmer Thomas Vinterberg, has optioned “Maldonne,” a novel by French writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac.

Boileau and Narcejac, who together wrote more than 40 books, penned the suspense novels that were the basis for such pics as Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” Henri-George Clouzot’s “Les Diaboliques” and George Franju’s “Eyes Without a Face.”

First published in 1962, “Maldonne” is the story of a down-on-his luck musician hired to pose as a rich look-alike to procure an inheritance, who ends up serving as the decoy for an assassination.

The novel was adapted for the screen as a 1968 French-language pic. But the Nimbus film will be an English-language production, not a remake.

Nimbus and Lars Van Trier’s Zentropa, which together finance most of Denmark’s major feature films, gave birth to the austere experimental movement, Dogma95.

Since producing Vinterberg’s “Festen” and Soren Kragh-Jacobson’s “Mifune” — which were distribbed in some 70 countries, Nimbus has moved on to larger, international fare not marked by the Dogma95 “vow of chastity.”

Vinterberg’s next pic for Nimbus, now in post, is “It’s All About Love,” an $11 million production starring Claire Danes, Sean Penn and Joaquin Phoenix.

Nimbus is jointly owned by Vinterberg, Lars Bredo Rahbek and Birgitte Hald.

Exec producing “Maldonne” are Rahbek and Jerome Lapara-Dares, director of Paris theater company Theatre Antoine and head of World Markets Network, a lit management company specializing in French books that repped Boileau and Narcejac in the deal.

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