Michael Winterbottom to direct thesp in comedy

CANNES — – Jack Black is set to join forces with Brit helmer Michael Winterbottom for a new comedy “Bailout,” which Ealing Metro International is pre-selling here in Cannes.

Pic, based on Jess Walter’s tome “The Financial Lives of the Poets,” follows the story of a down-and-out man who is jobless, crippled with debt, convinced his wife is having an affair and is weeks away from losing his home.

He soon meets two guys one night in a local supermarket who offer him a bizarre business opportunity that will help him rectify his life.

Prescience, one of the financial backers of “The King’s Speech,” have come onboard to finance and handle worldwide sales, through its recent joint venture sales outfit with Ealing Studios, Ealing Metro.

Winterbottom directs the story, adapted by Walter, while Michael Besman, Melissa Parmenter, Black, Ben Cooley and Priyanka Mattoo produce.

Pic, budgeted under $20 million, is currently in pre-production and is skedded to begin lensing in the U.S. in August.

Black is repped by WME and Winterbottom by WME and Independent Talent.

Walter is repped by ICM.

Ealing Metro’s Cannes slate this year includes Iain Softley thriller “Trap for Cinderella,” Mary J. Blige starrer “Nina,” a biopic about Nina Simone and “Better Living Through Chemistry,” toplining Jennifer Garner and Michelle Monaghan.

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