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Eric Stoltz to direct ‘Racing Patriots’

French star Samuel Le Bihan will star in Nazi-era pic

Racing Patriots,” a French/American/Indian co-production, has begun taking shape, with Eric Stoltz signed to direct the story of three Grand Prix champs who led the French resistance during the Nazi occupation.

French star Samuel Le Bihan will topline as Robert Benoist, with filming starting this winter in France, England and the Czech Republic. Project will be selling at Cannes.

Producers are Dana MacDuff and Brandon MacDuff’s Oakdale Pictures, Patrice Bonneyrat’s Durendal Media Pictures, Laurent Tolleron’s Cartel Prods., Pierre Morel (“Taken,” “From Paris with Love”) and Jarratt Carson. Script, written by Frederic Helmer and based on a story by the MacDuffs, centers on William Grover-Williams, winner of the first Monaco Grand Prix; Benoist, a WWI flying ace and 1927 World Champion; and Jean Pierre Wimille, winner of the 1937 and 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The trio escaped from France in 1940 and were trained by Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Unit as spies and saboteurs. Pic will focus on their subsequent exploits in France, under the noses of the Gestapo and Nazi terrorism experts.

Benoist and Grover-Williams were eventually captured and died in concentration camps. Wimille survived the war.

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