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Wargnier shows ‘Mercy’ for pic

'Man to Man' helmer lined up for French-lingo adaptation

BERLIN — Regis Wargnier will direct Gaumont’s French-language bigscreen adaptation of the bestselling Gallic crime novel “Have Mercy on Us All,” co-produced with Gallic indie LMG.

Pic’s budgeted at about $15 million, Gaumont CEO Frank Chorot said at the Berlin Film Festival Sunday.

Wargnier’s English-lingo actioner “Man to Man,” starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Joseph Fiennes, was the festival’s opening film.

Gaumont has been developing the script of “Have Mercy” for the past two years, with the final version credited to scribes Julian Rappeneau, Ariane Fert, Ariane Marrin and Laurence Shore.

Fred Vargas, the book’s female author, is one of France’s most successful crime writers, translated into 22 languages.

“Have Mercy” tells the story of a modern-day town crier paid to announce local news to people in a Paris neighborhood. Gradually, it becomes apparent that someone is using him to issue cryptic warnings of a plague outbreak in the city.

Pic will be produced by Gaumont regulars Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean Baptiste Dupont of LGM. Indie duo recently produced Olivier Marchal’s “36”; they have Eric Valli’s Gaumont-financed “The Trail” in post-production and are producing “A Ticket for Outer Space” with French comics Kad and Olivier.

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