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Accorsi set for ‘Versus’

Italo thesp penning and may direct heist pic

Italo A-list thesp Stefano Accorsi is developing “Versus,” a high-profile thriller centered around the contempo international jewel heist gang known as the Pink Panthers, with Gallic multihyphenate duo Julien Lacombe and Pascal Sid (“Behind the Walls”) aboard as scribes.

Accorsi, who besides co-penning is looking to make his directorial debut with “Versus,” describes the French-language crimer as “a meticulously researched reconstruction” of some of the spectacular heists seen from the perspective of Interpol investigators. The heists have netted more than $500 million since 1993 and taken place in hotspots including Dubai, Tokyo, Paris, London, Monaco and Biarritz.

“It’s clear that the movie builds toward a conflict between these two worlds — the cops and the robbers — each one of which, in a sense, does not have a raison d’etre without the other,” he said.

Accorsi called the Pink Panthers an “old-fashioned group of bandits who like to live the good life, who are still part of the great tradition of romantic gangsters; and in this respect are a dying breed.”

Interpol believes the group comprise up to 300 thieves, working in different cells.

The plan is to mount “Versus,” which is budgeted at e5 million-e7 million ($6.8 million-$9.5 million), as a French-language France-Italy-Serbia co-production, shepherded by Accorsi’s Paris-based shingle, Stephen Greep.

Lacombe and Sid are the writing-directing team behind 3D chiller “Behind the Walls,” starring Laetitia Casta, who is Accorsi’s wife. They are also attached to MK2’s unconventional war pic “Cameron.”

Making the transition from acting, Accorsi, who broke out internationally as a thesp in Gabriele Muccino’s “The Last Kiss,” is also penning another heist move, “Il Colpo,” which Muccino will direct and Domenico Procacci’s Fandango will produce. Accorsi said “Il Colpo” will star the same male ensemble team as Muccino’s two “Kiss” pics and be similar in spirit to Mario Monicelli’s “Big Deal on Madonna Street.”

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