Cassel, Kurylenko also join sci-fi project

Orlando Bloom, Vincent Cassel (“Eastern Promises”) and Olga Kurylenko (“Quantum of Solace”) will topline “The Cross,” to be directed by Andrew Niccol (“Lord of War” ).

Niccol has initiated pre-production on the $24 million sci-fi escape story, which is scheduled to start principal photography in July in Australia.

CAA packaged “Cross” and is selling North American distribution rights. Gregoire Melin’s Kinology is handling international rights.

Set in a border town, “Cross” returns Niccol — Oscar-nommed for writing “The Truman Show” — to his favorite domain: the near future. Bloom plays a man seeking to cross a mysterious border, something no one else has achieved; Cassel limns the guard who will go to any lengths to foil him. Kurylenko takes the femme lede. Structured as an Australia-France-Germany co-production, “Cross” is being produced by Bluewater Pics in Sydney, Paris’ Spangherabero Films and Berlin’s Opal Film Produktion. Wieland Schulz-Keil, Jonathan Shteinman, Jean-Vincent Puzos, Remi Burah and Niccol will produce; Alexander von Hohenthal is serving as German co-producer. “Cross” is a high-profile project on Kinology’s Berlin slate, which also features gangster thriller “Vengeance” from Johnnie To. Film is written by Wai Ka-fai and features To stalwarts such as Anthony Wong, Lam Ka Tung, Lam Suet and Simon Yam. Gallic rocker Johnny Hallyday stars as a hitman-turned chef moved to action when his daughter (Sylvie Testud) and family are murdered. Currently in post and skedded for delivery in May, “Vengeance” is produced by Michele and Laurent Petin at Paris’ ARP, To and Ka-fai.

At Berlin, Kinology will also be showing footage from “My Own Love Song,” now in post, from Olivier Dahan and toplining Renee Zellweger, Forest Whitaker and Nick Nolte.

Kinology’s slate is big on French helmers: Mathieu Kassovitz’s “Rebellion”; Joann Sfar’s “Gainsbourg,” now shooting; Juan Solanas’ “Upside Down”; and Antoine Charreyron’s “The Prodigies.”

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