Jalil Lespert to direct $16 million biopic

PARIS

SND, the film arm of Gallic broadcaster M6, will finance, co-produce and handle worldwide distribution rights, including distribution in France, on “Yves Saint Laurent,” the life story of France’s celebrated fashion designer.

Budgeted at €12 million ($16 million), “Yves Saint Laurent” is actor-turned-helmer-scribe Jalil Lesper’s third feature. It comes after “Headwinds,” with Audrey Tautou and Benoit Magimel. Wassim Beji’s WY Prods. will produce.

Pierre Niney, who won a newcomer actor Cesar nom for “J’aime regarder les filles,” will play Saint Laurent. Moritz Bleibtreu (“Soul Kitchen,” “The Baader Meinhof Complex”) will limn friend and rival designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Billed as an epic odyssey of creation, love, glamour and fashion, “Yves Saint Laurent” kicks off in January 1958 with the designer, just 21, presenting his first haute couture collection for Christian Dior to great success.

That day he meets arts patron Pierre Berge, the love of his life and business partner for the next 50 years until Saint Laurent’s death in 2008.

Saint Laurent’s story is “an extraordinary story of success, larger than life and a great love story,” Lespert said.

Currently casting further key roles, “Yves Saint Laurent” shoots late spring/early summer and has received the blessing of Berge and PPR, owner of the Yves Saint Laurent brand.

“Jalil Lespert came to see me with his sensitivity, enthusiasm and creative vision. I immediately understood that this was the director capable of telling our story,” Berge said.

“Yves Saint Laurent’s name and brand resonates throughout the world, making this film both very French and very appealing,” said Lionel Uzan, SND director of acquisitions and international sales.

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