Marchal pic is followup to '36'

PARIS — Italy’s Medusa has boarded the Euros 14 million ($18.7 million) in production Daniel Auteuil starrer “MR73,” helmer Olivier Marchal’s Gaumont-backed followup to the hit cop thriller “36.”

As with “36,” bought for U.S. remake by Robert De Niro, Medusa will co-produce as well as theatrically distribute “MR73″ in Italy.

Gaumont and Gallic indie shingle LGM are producing, with Gaumont distributing in Gaul and handling international sales.

Lensing in Marseilles, “MR73″ is about a jaded cop, played by Auteuil, who gets a last chance to redeem himself by protecting a young woman, played by Olivia Bonamy, from her parents’ murderer who is about to be released from jail.

The film’s title refers to a Magnum handgun used by French cops in the 1970s.

“36,” the sophomore effort by former cop Marchal, notched up more than 2 million admissions in France and sold to around 40 territories worldwide including Italy where it grossed $1.5 million for Medusa.

Tartan recently picked the film up for U.S. theatrical distribution, having already acquired it for the U.K.

Back in Gaul, “36″ has done much to revive interest in underworld-themed pics.

Recent Gallic releases include the graphically violent “Crime Insiders,” with Benoit Magimel, and “Counter Investigation,” starring hot comic actor Jean Dujardin as straight guy cop.

Upcoming pics in a similar vein include Jean-Francois Richet’s star-cast Euros 45 million ($60 million) “Mesrine” two parter, based on the true story of an infamous French gangster, due to begin lensing end of April, and Alain Corneau’s Jean-Pierre Melville remake “Le Deuxieme souffle,” with Auteuil and Monica Bellucci.

According to French press reports on Monday, as well as Vincent Cassel in the title role, a bevy of well known Gallic thesps have joined “Mesrine’s” cast: Gerard Depardieu, Guillaume Canet, Clovis Cornillac, Cecile de France and Ludivine Sagnier, plus Vincent Cassel’s dad Jean-Pierre Cassel as Mesrine’s adoptive father. Pathe backed two-parter is produced by Thomas Langmann.

“Le Deuxieme souffle” is produced by ARP with Warner Bros. distributing in France.

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