U.K. distributor to co-produce 'Infidel'

U.K. distrib Revolver is taking a shot at becoming a film producer.

The company is co-producing laffer “The Infidel” with Brit shingle Slingshot.

Project, written by popular British comedian David Baddiel and directed by Josh Appignanesi, is about a Muslim taxi driver in London who discovers he was adopted and is actually Jewish.

Omid Djalili will play the culturally confused cabbie. Richard Schiff (“The West Wing”) and Archie Panjabi (“A Mighty Heart”) also join the cast. The role of a fanatical Muslim preacher has yet to be set.

Salt is handling international sales except for the U.K., where Revolver has acquired the pic. Teuton distrib Square One has already acquired the film for Germany while Front Row has acquired Middle East rights.

“I think that people are terrified about race and religion, especially issues surrounding Muslims and Jews, and when people are terrified, what they really should do is laugh,” said Baddiel.

Arvind Ethan David and Uzma Hasan are producing for Slingshot along with Stewart Le Marechal for Met Films and Baddiel. Djalili receives exec producer credit.

Revolver’s foray into producing is the latest move by a number of U.K. distribs into filmmaking. Studio Canal-owned Optimum Releasing and Pathe U.K. have both ramped up production activities in recent months.

Leading indie Brit distrib Entertainment Films had set up production shingle Material Films as a joint venture with New Line Films. Robert Jones ankled as topper of Material Films in February to resume his career as a film producer.

“It’s the perfect time for us to invest in production from Day 1,” Revolver topper Justin Marciano told Variety. “We know very quickly what will and won’t sell and we are keen to get our hands dirty as early as possible. We’ve already got a couple of new projects that we’ve created from scratch and will finance and produce in-house.”

Revolver has also inked a deal with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment U.K. to release its titles in the homevid market. The first project to roll out through the pact will be helmer Chris Smith’s “Black Death,” starring Sean Bean, Carice van Houten and Eddie Redmayne. Revolver will release theatrically in the U.K., with Sony handling the home entertainment release.

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