Films to star Lilly, Malkovich, Duris

CANNES — After its English language debut with Francois Ozon’s “Angel,” French shingle Fidelite is prepping a series of English-language pics with the likes of “Black Book” star Carice Van Houten, “Lost’s” Evangeline Lilly, John Malkovich and Romain Duris.

Company behind Emir Kusturica’s in competition pic “Promise Me This” is about to go into production on French helmer Gilles Bourdos’ E10 million ($13.5 million) “Afterwards.”

Thriller will begin shooting in early June in New York, New Mexico and Montreal. Canada’s Crystal Films is co-producing.

Duris plays a man who is warned by a mysterious third party that his days are numbered, leading him to take some radical decisions about what he is going to do with what is left of his life.

Pic is produced in association with Malkovich’s shingle, Mr. Mudd.

On June 18 lensing also gets under way on “Dorothy Mills,” a mystery starring Van Houten, in her first English- language role, as a psychologist sent to a small community where a girl has been accused of murdering a baby she was taking care of.

Pic helmed by Agnes Merlet (“Artemisia”) is co-produced by the Irish company Octagon.

Also in the pipeline is Gaspar Noe’s previously announced “Enter the Void,” a follow-up to the helmer’s Croisette shocker “Irreversible,” which was in competition in 2002. New project is expected to come together soon.

Gallic international sales outfit and distrib Wild Bunch will be partnering Fidelite on all three pics.

Marc Missonnier, one half of Fidelite’s producing duo with Olivier Delbosc, said having succeeded with arthouse and commercial fare in France — its movies range from Francois Ozon’s “Under the Sand” to the musical comedy “Podium,” the recent costumer “Moliere” and Un Certain Regard title “Dream From the Night Before” — Fidelite is determined to make its mark in international English-language fare.

“We don’t want to restrict ourselves to producing films for the domestic market. We want to do different things,” the producer said.

To finance its ambitious plans it has sold a batch of around 10 catalog titles, including “8 Women” to StudioCanal.

Ozon’s “Angel” was less than warmly received, but Missonnier said the helmer has gone back to the editing room and lopped off 15 minutes. New version that is available for distribs changes the perception of the central character Angel, Missonnier said, and makes her more appealing.

Meanwhile, Fidelite continues to take an interest in world cinema, whether by international auteurs such as Kusturica, or by lesser-known filmmakers.

This summer lensing will begin on “Kabuli Kid,” about a taxi driver in Kabul who has to care for a baby left by a woman in his cab. Script was penned by Jean-Claude Carriere and the film will be helmed by first-timer Barmak Akram.

“It’s a kind of ‘Central do Brasil’ set in Afghanistan,” Missonnier said.

Among its mainstream French projects, Fidelite is developing a live-action bigscreen version of the France’s well-known “Petit Nicolas” kids’ short stories.

An animated “Petit Nicolas” is also in the works at French broadcaster M6.

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