‘Lupin’ rides again

Character has spawned 15 pics, three TV series

PARIS — Kristin Scott Thomas and Romain Duris will star in the $25 million “Arsene Lupin,” an actioner based on the adventures of French literature’s most famous gentleman-thief.

Jean-Paul Salome, director of the Sophie Marceau starrer “Belphegor,” will helm.

Pic, which starts shooting in August, is produced by Stephane Marsil, of Hugo Films. TFI Intl. is handling international sales while M6 subsidiary SND will release the film in France.

Duris, star of Cedric Klapisch’s recent French box office smash “Europudding,” will play bestselling author Maurice Leblanc’s popular antihero Arsene Lupin, a well-loved character portrayed by a roll call of actors over the years in some 15 bigscreen adaptations and three TV series.

Pics range from Jacques Becker’s 1957 version to a 1923 black and white version helmed by Japan’s Kenji Mizoguchi.

Scott Thomas will play the bewitching Countess Cagliostro, under whose spell Lupin falls. The action takes place in Paris and Normandy at the turn of the 20th century and, with a fresh twist on previous adaptations, includes Lupin’s early life.

“It’s a film with great popular appeal that will work in theaters, on television and on video,” said TF1 Intl. senior VP of international sales Nicholas Eschbach. “The public is ready for a character like Arsene Lupin who is not black-or-white.”

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