Olga Kurylenko Boards Benoit Philippon’s ‘Lota’

PARIS– Olga Kurylenko (“To The Wonder”), Gregory Fitoussi (“World War Z”) and Emir Kusturica (“7 Days in Havana”) are set to topline “Lota,” a French Guiana-set dramedy directed by Benoit Philippon (“Lullaby”).

Described by Philippon as a variation on the themes of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” pic will star Kurylenko as a young woman who was abused during her childhood and struggles to build healthy relationships with men.

“As in ‘Magnolia,’ ‘Lota’ follows various characters whose lives intersect,” said Philippon, who also cited “Mud” as a source of inspiration for “Lota”‘s dream-like atmosphere, visual style and the main character’s soul searching.

“Kurylenko’s character is both a princess and a warrior and it’s that ambivalence that makes her so fascinating,” explained Philippon, adding that he’s interested in strong female characters such as the ones portrayed in movies by Quentin Tarantino, John Cassavetes and Tennessee Williams.

Cast is completed by Jean-Pierre Martins, Fanny Valette, Swann Arlaud, Linh Dan Pham and Cyril Guei. Alain Grandgerard at Paris-based  Five2one is producing.

“Lota”‘s key crew includes cinematographer Michel Amathieu and set designer Anne Seibel who all worked on Philippon’s directorial debut “Lullaby for Pi,” an English-language romance drama starring Rupert Friend, Forest Whitaker and Clemence Poesy.

Lensing on “Lota” is expected to begin in early 2015 and will take place in Colombia.

The helmer is wrapping Disney-style toon “Mune,” his first animated feature which will be distributed by Paramount in France.

Kurylenko, who is repped by CAA and Tavistock Wood Management, will next be seen in “The November Man,” Roger Donaldson’s spy hriller in which she stars opposite Pierce Brosnan.

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