Adaptation will be 60% animation, 40% live-action

SEOUL — Gallic best-seller “Empire of the Ants” is being developed as a big-budget French-South Korean co-production.

“Kaemi” (Ant) will be helmed by Korean animation director Kim Moon-saeng as 60% animation and 40% live-action pic. The book’s author, helmer Bernard Werber, approached Kim after seeing his “Wonderful Days.”

Production is headed by Korea’s Studio 3303 and French and Korean companies are expected to split the $15.8 million budget. A French partner has yet to be locked in

France and Korea signed a bilateral co-production treaty, which allows pics from both territories to be considered as local in each other’s markets.

“Empire of the Ants” was published in 1991 and has been translated into more than 30 languages selling more than 2 million copies in total.

Werber’s first movie as helmer, “Nos amis les Terriens” (Our Earthmen Friends), was produced by Claude Lelouch and released in April 2007.

Helmer is hugely popular in Korea, which he is currently touring.

“Ants are creatures which surpass human beings in numbers and have the largest civilization on earth,” he said. “They have successful social structures and organizations even human beings have not attained. I’d like to get these points across in the movie.”

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