Megaton will direct English-language pic for Besson

“Transporter 3″ director Olivier Megaton will direct “Colombiana,” the next big English-language project from Luc Besson’s Gallic studio EuropaCorp.

Screenplay is by Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the writing team behind EuropaCorp’s U.S. hit “Taken.”

Pic centers on a Latin American girl whose parents are assassinated by hired killers. Grown-up, she becomes a professional killer and seeks revenge. The studio is looking for a name actress to star.

“Colombiana’s” budget is $40 million, EuropaCorp co-founder Pierre-Ange Le Pogam said at Cannes.

A 100% EuropaCorp production, “Colombiana” is exec-produced by Ariel Zeitoun, who produced the Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek starrer “Bandidas” for EuropaCorp.

The Gallic studio is in negotiations with several Hollywood studios for distribution rights to North America and at least some international territories, Le Pogam said, in deals he hopes to close at Cannes. EuropaCorp will pre-sell the rest of the world. The pic will shoot for 13-14 weeks in the U.S., Mexico and France beginning Aug. 2. Pic is aimed to be ready for delivery in April or May 2011.

Besson produces the pic, which Le Pogam describes as a “psychological action movie.”

“The film is not just about revenge, it’s a character-driven actioner,” said Le Pogam.

By European levels, $40 million makes a high-end film. For a studio, however, it’s a highly economical budget for an action film, offering large potential upside if the movie clicks.

“We have a proven track record, and not just on ‘Taken,’ of delivering the money onscreen. Our movies always look more expensive,” Le Pogam said.

EuropaCorp will produce nine to 11 movies a year, said Le Pogam, consisting of “two-to-four English-language, plus French films, working with a variety of producers.”

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