Thesp joins Statham, Owen in Omnilab thriller

Robert De Niro is set to star opposite Jason Statham and Clive Owen in Omnilab Media’s international action thriller “The Killer Elite.”

Gary McKendry is directing the Australian film, which began lensing earlier this week in Melbourne.

In addition to announcing De Niro’s addition to the cast, Omnilab managing director Christopher Mapp said the company is fully financing the $66 million production. It closed the financing with rebate assistance from Film Victoria and Screen Australia — Producer Offset.

Based on Ranulph Fiennes’ 1993 nonfiction tome “The Feather Men,” “Killer Elite” follows a group of black ops agents for hire, who must hunt down and destroy a rouge cell of assassins.

De Niro plays the mentor of Statham’s character, who must come out of retirement when De Niro’s character is kidnapped by the enemy. Storyline revolves around his rescue.

“We are absolutely delighted to have the iconic Robert De Niro join our already star-studded cast,” Mapp said.

Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson’s Inferno Entertainment is selling the project at Cannes. Many territories have previously been sold, including the U.K., while deals are in the works for several major European territories, including France and Italy.

Omnilab won’t shop for an American buyer until later, much as it did with Statham topliner “The Bank Job,” which went out in the U.S. through Lionsgate.

In addition to “Bank Job,” Omnilab’s previous credits include Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger” and Oliver Stone’s “W.” Omnilab’s Mapp played a key role in providing production and marketing financing for both films.

Michael Boughen is producing “Killer Elite” through Omnilab’s Australian production arm Ambience Entertainment. Mapp will exec produce with Omnilab’s Matthew Street and David Whealy, Cinemarket’s Peter D. Graves and Current Entertainment’s Steve Chasman.

Joni Sighvatsson will serve as the film’s U.K. producer.

“Killer Elite” also stars Dominic Purcell, Yvonne Strahovski, Ben Mendelsohn, Aden Young and newcomer Firass Dirani.

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