Helmer leaps into production of action-thriller

Exclusive– Helmer Pierre Morel (“Taken”) is leaping into production with “Overdrive,” a high-voltage English-lingo action thriller.

British thesps Alex Pettyfer (“I am Number Four”) and Matthew Goode (“Watchmen”) are in talks to star in the €21 million ($29.6 million) pic, which turns on a pair of handsome and adventurous brothers, known for being high-profile car thieves, who travel to the South of France looking for new challenges and come across a tough local crime boss.

Repped by Gregoire Melin’s Paris-based sales powerhouse Kinology, pic is penned by the duo behind “3:10 to Yuma” and “Wanted,” Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, who are also producing with Morel.

Kinology will share U.S. sales rights with Mark Ankner at WME’s Global division.

Pic will be directed by up-and-coming Colombian helmer Antonio Negret, who just wrapped Joel Silver-produced thriller “Transit.”

” ‘Overdrive’ is an action flick with brains and a great dose of humor, mixing elements of ‘Point Break’ and ‘The Hangover,’ ” explained Melin, adding that the film is a passion project for Pierre Morel.

“I’ve been looking a long time for the right project to make my producing debut. When I read Derek and Michael’s script, I knew this was the perfect vehicle, in which I could input all the experience I had gathered over the years” says Morel, who launched his production shingle, Elastic Collision, earlier this year.

Morel will serve as the action and art supervisor. “He’ll be involved every step of the way, from the preparation to the production and shooting,” said Melin.

Morel gained international recognition after directing actioner “Taken,” a $25 million pic that yielded $145 million in the U.S. and $226.8 million worldwide.

Producer Renee Tab of Sentient Entertainment will serve as exec producer. “Overdrive” will start lensing in Marseilles in the south of France, for an expected delivery in summer 2012.

Kinology’s eclectic Cannes roster also includes Cannes’ midnight Screening “Dias de Gracia,” David Cronenberg’s Robert Pattinson starrer “Cosmopolis” and 3-D docudrama “Land of the Bears,” directed by Guillaume Vincent (“The Monkey Who Crossed the Sea”).

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