Chaumeil pens spy comedy, Duris to star

Rolling off the success of “Heartbreaker” in France, Quad Films is reteaming with director Pascal Chaumeil on “Vivre c’est mieux que mourrir” (Living Is Better Than Dying), a $20 million spy comedy.

Quad Films producer Yann Zenou said he’s in negotiations with “Heartbreaker” star Romain Duris to take the lead role.

Set in Paris and Russia, the comedy follows a hotel clerk in his 30s who steals money from a guest without realizing that he’s being filmed. He hides from the police in the room of a Hollywood producer who mistakes him for a director and asks him to pitch a project. The clerk’s pitch envisions him as a kickass CIA agent on mission in Russia.

French scribe Laurent Zeitoun is writing the script with Chaumeil. The two collaborated on “Heartbreaker,” which is Gaul’s highest-grossing French film.

Shooting starts next spring. Zenou is looking for international co-production partners.

Quad is also developing an $8 million English-language thriller based on Alan Watt’s “Diamond Dogs,” with Chaumeil on board to direct. Pic follows a star high school quarterback whose life is turned upside-down after he kills someone in a drunken-driving accident and his sheriff father tries to cover up his involvement. Pic is set in Nevada.

Script for the English-language film is by Watt.

“Heartbreaker” was Chaumeil’s feature debut. The director is a TV vet who has helmed popular French TV skeins such as “Spiral” and “Desperate Parents.”

Run by Yann Zenou, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky and Laurent Zeitoun, Quad was launched in 2004 as a commercials production company.

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