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Sarde, Thompson orchestrate Pathe pic

Screenwriter-helmer to shoot, deliver pic by 2004

PARIS — Producer Alain Sarde (“The Pianist”) has pacted with Pathe to produce Daniele Thompson’s next film, the comedy “Fauteuil d’Orchestre.” It will be Sarde’s first gig since his split with StudioCanal.

Sarde, who produced Thomson’s first two films “La Buche” and “Jet Set,” brought the project to Pathe, which will develop and produce the pic.

Pathe production topper Richard Pezet said Tuesday that screenwriter-helmer Thompson will start work on the script next month, with a view to shooting and delivering the film next year.

“It will be a comedy set in Paris with an ensemble cast along the lines of ‘La Buche,’ ” Pezet said.

It will be the first time Sarde has produced with a company other than StudioCanal since he joined the Canal Plus subsid in 1990, going on to make dozens of films including “Mulholland Drive” and Roman Polanksi’s Palme d’Or winning “The Pianist.”

In a long career, Sarde has notched up more than 130 producer credits and worked with most of the major names in French cinema.

StudioCanal’s ambitions to become a European studio to rival the Hollywood majors were sidetracked by the merger of its parent company with Vivendi and Universal in 2000.

Subsequent restructuring at the debt-ridden Canal Plus group curtailed the Gallic studio’s plans even further until the announcement earlier this year that its three remaining inhouse producers, Sarde, Alain Goldman and Richard Grandpierre ,would go independent.

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