Cannes: Bonello Tackles Action Pic ‘Paris Is Happening’ (EXCLUSIVE)

“Saint Laurent” helmer Bertrand Bonello is set to make a radical turn with “Paris Is Happening,” a action-packed drama about ordinary young people coming from all social classes who riot and drift into senseless terrorism.

“Paris” is produced by Edouard Weil and Alice Girard for Rectangle Prods. Wild Bunch has taken international sales rights. The film will star Vincent Rottiers (who headlines Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or contender “Dheepan”) and Finnegan Oldfield (who toplines Thomas Bidegain’s “Les Cowboys,” which played at Directors Fortnight). The rest of the cast is almost entirely made up of non-pros aged between 17 and 22.

“After directing two costume movies – ‘House of Tolerance’ and ‘Saint Laurent’ – I really had the urge the direct a movie that’s extremely grounded in contemporary society,” said Bonello, whose “Saint Laurent” played in competition at Cannes last year.

The film starts out right into an action scene with no prelude or explanation.

“The treatment of the film is closer to that of an action movie than a political film. The subject matter is there but it remains in the background,” said Bonello, who spent six months casting the film and started developing the project way before the Charlie Hebdo tragedy.

Bonello started thinking about the project after learning of the Birmingham riots in 2005.

“In contrast with projects that deal with similar themes, Bonello’s movie will show young folks who orchestrate devastating attacks across Paris but are neither driven by religion or politics,” said Girard.

Germany’s Pandora, Belgium’s Scope Pictures and Franco-German network Arte are co-producing the film.

The film will start shooting in June.

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