Studiocanal, Scott Free team for island tale

Euro production-distribution giant Studiocanal and Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free are teaming to produce the first English-language film from Italian helmer Luca Guadagnino (“I Am Love”).

Michael Costigan is producing for Scott Free.

Studiocanal is financing and will distribute in France, Germany and U.K., where it has its own operations, and selling rights for the rest of the world, said Studiocanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson.

Budget of the untitled project is “under $30 million,” Courson added.

Set on the island of Pantelleria, south of Guadagnino’s native Sicily, the pic is written by Guadagnino, who calls it “a rock ‘n’ roll anthem of sex, love, murder and emotional rescue: A dive into the politics of desire between man and woman where one plus one makes four on the raw island of Pantelleria, lost in the Mediterranean.”

Film will feature a U.S. and European cast. It is close to casting and moving into production, Courson said. Studiocanal and Scott Free are mulling whether to bring in a U.S. distribution partner at this point of production.

“That would be a strategic decision, not a question of financial necessity,” Courson said.

Guadagnino’s picture adds to Studiocanal’s strong line in upscale genre pics — films combining high production levels with a director’s shaping vision.

It also shows StudioCanal aiding a European director to step up into English-language moviemaking at a more ambitious budget level.

Another example, Swede Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy,” world premieres in Competition on Monday.

Produced by Working Title and fully-financed by Studiocanal, “Tinker, Tailor” features Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and John Hurt. It opens in the U.K. Sept. 16.

“We had the idea from the very beginning of presenting and opening the movie first in Europe,” Courson said.

“Venice is perfect timing and a perfect place. Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation completely reinvents John le Carre’s novel. There’s a really European sensibility to the movie.”

Of other productions, Studiocanal has a first draft from Damien Chazelle of “The Last Exorcism 2,” produced by Eli Roth and Strike Entertainment. Courson said Studiocanal aimed to attach a director and start production by year-end.

Joann Sfar and John Carls, a producer on “Rango” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” are working on the development and screenplay of English-language 3D animated feature, “Little Vampire,” which adapts Sfar’s best-selling graphic novel, “Little Vampire Goes to School.”

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