Pic's based on Belgian strip about a boy and his puppy
EXCLUSIVE– Gallic shingle LGM’s Jean-Baptiste Dupont and Cyril Colbeau Justin, the producer duo behind a flurry of popular French actioners and genre films, are developing “Boule and Bill” (“Billy and Buddy”), a $20 million, live-action 3D pic based on the popular Belgian comic strip.Currently in pre-production, the 1970’s comedy turns on a little boy and his newly-adopted cocker spaniel who turns the family’s life upside down and eventually binds everyone closer together. Pic will be penned and directed by Alexandre Charlot and Franck Magnier, whose writing credits include Dany Boon’s mega-hit “Welcome to the Sticks.” Gallic thesps Lambert Wilson and Sandrine Kiberlain (“Mademoiselle Chambon”) are set to topline. ” ?’Billy and Buddy’? ranks among the best-selling French-language comics so this film has strong potential in France,” Dupont and Colbeau-Justin told Variety, adding that it also targets the same international audience who flocked to canine pics “Marley and Me” and “Beethoven.” LGM is in advanced negotiations with Studio Canal to distribute the film in France and sell international rights, as part of a first-look deal. Pic will start shooting in early 2012 for a Christmas delivery. Meanwhile, LGM is lensing “Cloclo,” a biopic of French singer Claude Francois, who was widely popular in 1960s and 1970s and died at age 39. Francois’ most popular song is “Comme d’habitude,” which Frank Sinatra adapted into “My Way.” Florent Emilio Siri is directing the film that toplines Jeremy Renier (“Potiche”) and Benoit Magimel (“Little White Lies”). Studio Canal will roll out the film next March and reps the pic in international markets. Launched in 2000, LGM has been following a clutch of high-profile helmers, notably Olivier Marchal and Jacques Maillot, who redefined the Gallic cop thriller genre with “36” and “Rivals,” respectively. The outfit recently wrapped production on Marchal’s Gerard Lanvin starrer “A Gang Story,” a sprawling gangster pic about charismatic mob boss Edmond Vidal and his entourage. Gaumont who has French distribution and international sales rights, has inked a raft of sales in major territories on the film. Dupont and Colbeau Justin said they were reteaming with Marchal on his next film, Montespan, “an epic melodrama with a modern edge and humor, dealing with universal themes such as treason, love and rivarly.” The 17th-century set pic, which will be co-penned with Laurent Chalumeau and helmed by Marchal, turns on the Marquis de Montespan and his unfaithful wife, who was Louis XIV’s favorite mistress. Gaumont is in advanced negotiations to nab the pic’s distribution and international sales rights, as part of its output deal with LGM.