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Statham revs up ‘Transporter 3’

Knepper joins cast of Megaton-directed sequel

Jason Statham will reprise his role as mercenary driver/delivery man Frank in “Transporter 3,” the next installment in EuropaCorp’s shoot-’em-up franchise.

He will reteam with co-star Francois Berleand, while Robert Knepper (“Prison Break”) has joined the cast.

However, Louis Leterrier, who helmed the first two pics, has been replaced by Olivier Megaton (“Exit,” “The Red Siren”), who was second-unit director on EuropaCorp’s “Hitman.”

Pic, which will be produced by EuropaCorp principal Luc Besson and Steve Chasman, will shoot for 16 weeks in Russia and France.

The first two films in the series, which kicked off in 2002, were written by Besson and Robert Mark Kamen.

With worldwide box office returns of more than $130 million for the franchise, “Transporter 3” continues EuropaCorp’s move into films with broader international potential.

Two sequels to “Arthur and the Invisibles,” which took in more than $225 million in international box office and DVD sales, are in the pipeline. The first, “Arthur and the Vengeance of Malthazard” is skedded for a September 2009 release in Gaul.

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