'Basterds' thesp toplines StudioCanal pic

Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds”) will topline “Special Forces,” a $12.6-million Afghanistan-set kidnap drama.

Kruger will play a French journo kidnapped by the Taliban.

Djimon Hounsou, Denis Menochet, Benoit Magimel, Raphael Personnaz (who appears in competition player “The Princess of Montpensier”) also star. Pic will be directed by Stephane Rybojad.

Produced by StudioCanal and Easy Company’s Thierry Marro and Benoit Ponsaille, “Forces” is in pre-production.

The film, which will be shot with the help of the French army, is in the vein of “Black Hawk Down,” said StudioCanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson.

Meanwhile, StudioCanal is producing serial-killer thriller “Prey,” directed by Eric Valette. The French helmer has just wrapped production on “Hunter,” a 3D English-language horror pic.

Budgeted around $12.6 million, “Prey” will star French thesps Andre Dussollier and Albert Dupontel.

Both “Special Forces” and “Prey” are part of a push by StudioCanal into upscale French genre fare.

Optimum Releasing and Kinowelt, which are StudioCanal subsidiaries, have taken U.K. and German rights respectively to “The Prey,” and “Special Forces.”

“There’s a real international appetite for high-quality French films, which is shown by the interest of our subsidiaries,” said Courson.

Optimum and Kinowelt usually take two or three of StudioCanal’s French movies a year. Both pics will see theatrical openings.

StudioCanal’s competition players, “Outside the Law” and “The Princess of Montpensier,” will be released by Optimum and Kinowelt.

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