Reno, Depardieu sign on for big-budget pix

PARIS — Gaumont has nabbed top Gallic talent for two upcoming pics budgeted at a combined $40 million: Jean Reno and Olivier Martinez will star in “Empire of the Wolves,” while Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil will star in an untitled cop thriller.

“Empire of the Wolves” is a $27 million adaptation of the latest book by “Crimson Rivers” author Jean-Christophe Grange.

Pic, which begins shooting in Paris and Turkey in February, will be helmed by Chris Nahon, director of the Luc Besson-produced “Kiss of the Dragon.”

As with “Crimson Rivers,” Grange will work on the script, a thriller set in Paris’ Turkish community. Pic is due for delivery early in 2005.

Gaumont’s other big project stars Depardieu and Auteuil as rival detectives competing both at work and for the affections of the same woman.

The $15 million pic will be helmed by Olivier Marchal (“Gangsters”) and produced by Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean Baptiste Dupont of LGM, with Gaumont financing and co-producing.

Script was penned by Olivier Marchal, Frank Mancuso and Julien Rappeneau. It also will shoot in February, for delivery before the end of the year.

Both pics will be unveiled at next week’s Mifed film market in Milan.

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