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Lambert caps ‘Offense’; pic pairs up ‘Taxi’ duo

Helmer Pires, lenser Sauvaire re-team for actioner

Christopher Lambert will topline the upcoming indie action-suspenser “Capital Offense.”

Pic reunites the winning team of helmer Gerard Pires and cinematographer Jean-Pierre Sauvaire, who paired on the 1998 Luc Besson-penned French-lingo actioner “Taxi.”

Richard Rionda’s Hannibal Films, Nicolas Altmayer’s France-based Mandarin and Jonathan Vanger and Claude Leger’s Transfilm will produce.

Lambert most recently starred in Leger’s indie “Druids” and is best known for actioners like the Celtic beheading fest “Highlander.””Capital Offense,” penned by Georgio Serafini, concerns an on-air hostage crisis by an escapee looking to clear his rep as a cop killer. Lambert plays the slain officer’s partner and has six hours to find who did in the cop.

“For us, we’re expecting a lot, because we’re putting together some of the finest European action filmmakers,” Rionda said. “It’s exactly what the market wants.”

Helmer Pires’ recent effort, “Taxi” — about an aging taxi driver with latent desires to be a Formula One driver — grossed more than $40 million in France alone.

$15 mil budget

“Capital Offense” is budgeted at $15 million, and will be financed by Hannibal Pictures, French feevee Canal Plus and UGC.

Rionda said foreign territory sales will be handled by both Hannibal Films and B.M. Studio, and that Hannibal was in “final negotiations” with an unnamed Hollywood studio for Stateside distribution.

Lambert was repped in the deal by Bess Mer at R Media in Paris.

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