Sony dons Besson halo

SPC makes date with an 'Angel'

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up North American rights to Luc Besson’s “Angel-A,” which the Gallic filmmaker wrote, directed and produced.

Pic is the first Besson has helmed since 1999’s “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.”

“Angel A” — which was shot in Paris last summer and bowed in France in December — stars Jamel Debbouze as an incompetent schemer who owes a large amount of money to creditors all over Paris. His fate takes a new direction when he improbably meets the leggy Angela (Rie Rasmussen), who helps him tackle his problems. Gilbert Melki and Serge Riaboukine also star.

Pic was produced by Besson and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam’s Paris-based EuropaCorp label, TF1 Films and Apipoulai, with the participation of Canal Plus and in association with Sofica EuropaCorp.

“This is the most aesthetically pleasing film (Luc Besson) has ever made,” said SPC co-head Michael Barker. “It’s a very sexy fairy tale about his love of Paris and his love of romance.”

Barker said that he and Bernard have been angling to get into biz with Besson ever since his 1983 pic “Le denier combat.”

“It’s only taken us about 20 years to get a Luc Besson movie,” Barker quipped.

Barker runs SPC with Tom Bernard, and their head of acquisitions and productions Dylan Leiner. The trio has been quite active along the Croisette this year, picking up rights to the French production of Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” and also making a deal to snap up Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s East German-drama “The Lives of Others.”

Besson also helmed and produced the upcoming live action/CG-animated pic “Arthur and the Minimoys,” based on the kid’s book he wrote.

EuropaCorp also recently produced the fourth installment of French franchise “Taxi,” starring Frederic Diefenthal and Sami Naceri.

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