Paul Haggis to direct Lionsgate film

Russell Crowe will star in “The Next Three Days,” the adaptation of the 2008 French film “Pour Elle” that reunites Lionsgate with its “Crash” director Paul Haggis.

Crowe will play a teacher whose wife is arrested and convicted of a murder she says she did not commit. He comes up with a desperate plan to free her.

Haggis, who wrote the script, will begin production in late September in Pittsburgh.

Haggis told Daily Variety that the drama needed an actor who can thrive as an Everyman who rises when faced with an extraordinary circumstance, and Crowe was his top choice.

“We’ve seen him as the gladiator, but he has embodied the Everyman in so many pictures,” Haggis said.

Haggis said the film explores deeper themes of faith and belief.

Said Haggis: “The deeper theme here is, would you save the woman you loved if you knew that by doing so, you would turn into a man that woman could no longer love?”

Haggis is producing with Michael Nozik through their Highway 61 Films, along with Marc Missonnier and Olivier Delbosc of Fidelite Films.

Crowe is shooting “Robin Hood,” the Ridley Scott-directed drama for Universal and Imagine.

Crowe is repped by WME.

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