French co. developing $37 million project

Leading French production outfit Pan Europeenne is developing a $37 million 3D biopic on pioneering French oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Scribe Laurent Turner (“The Inner Circle”) is adapting the script from “Capitaine de la Calypso,” a biography penned by fellow sea explorer Albert Falco, who spent 40 years working alongside Cousteau.

The film will be directed by Jerome Salles, who’s currently filming “The Burma Conspiracy,” the second part of the comicbook-based “Largo Winch” series for Pan Europeenne.

Producer Nathalie Gastaldo said she’s looking to set up the film as an international co-production.

“It will be a true biopic but also an adventure film featuring many underwater scenes,” said Gastaldo.

Gastaldo is also producing thesp Tomer Sisley’s directorial debut, “The Champion,” a drama based on the true story of 1930s boxing champion Victor Young Perez, a Tunisian Jew who was deported to a concentration camp during the Holocaust and fought a German commandant, earning the respect of everyone in the camp. Pic is penned by Jean Marc Culiersi (“Les Deux Mondes”) and Jean Pierre Sinapi (“National 7″).

Budgeted at $9 million, the pic will be shot in either Romania or Hungary. Sisley will topline.

The film will start lensing in March 2011.

Meanwhile, Pan Europeene co-founder Philippe Godeau is on board to produce Alexandra Leclere’s next ensemble comedy, “A Perfect Weekend,” starring a flurry of popular French thesps, including Isabelle Huppert, Nathalie Baye and Gerard Lanvin.

Also in development at Pan Europeenne is Eric Emmanuel Schmitt’s $10 million bigscreen adaptation of “Le Sumo qui ne Pouvait pas Grossir” (The Sumo Wrestler Who Couldn’t Get Bigger).

Schmitt last penned “Oscar and the Lady in Pink.”

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