“Monster’s Ball” co-scripter Milo Addica is in advanced negotiations to write and direct his untitled first feature, based on Gallic con artist Christophe Rocancourt’s bestselling memoir, “The French Hustler.”
The English-language feature will be produced under by Thomas Langmann under his Paris-based La Petite Reine banner and is being assembled on a $20 million budget. Sources close to the project say Addica is being paid low seven figures.
Langmann beat out rival bidders late last year for the book, closing the deal after a meeting with the author in a Canadian prison, where he is awaiting extradition to the U.S.
La Petite Reine paid an undisclosed figure believed to be in the $1 million range.
A self-invented figure somewhere between Peter Pan and Robin Hood, Rocancourt emerged from a troubled childhood with an absentee mother and alcoholic father to become one of the most infamous playboy-frauds in America.
Arriving in Los Angeles in 1991, without a cent and with a poor command of English, Rocancourt within a few months was mixing with celebs, passing himself off at various times as a producer, a Formula One pilot, a member of the Rockefeller clan and an intimate of the Mafia.
He masterminded $35 million worth of business scams in 10 years before landing on the FBI’s wanted list. His book was originally titled “Moi, Christophe Rocancourt, Orphelin, Playboy et Taulard.”
Addica co-wrote “Birth” with director Jonathan Glazer and Jean-Claude Carriere. Pic is in production for Fine Line in New York, starring Nicole Kidman. He also worked with Glazer on an adaptation of Michael Faber’s “Under the Skin” and is scripting “The Biker Creed” for Imagine/ Universal.
Additionally, Addica is producing “The King,” which he co-scripted with director James Marsh for ContentFilm, with Gael Garcia Bernal attached to star.
Addica’s deal on the Rocancourt project was structured by his New York-based attorney Jodi Peikoff, who negotiated with Alexia de Beauvoir for La Petite Reine. The director is repped by ICM.
Chosen as one of Variety‘s 2003 10 Producers to Watch, actor-turned-producer Langmann is the son of vet French producer-director Claude Berri. He is in post on Jan Kounen’s big-budget actioner “Blueberry,” starring Vincent Cassel, opening late this year in France.
(Alison James contributed to this report.)