‘Saints’ alive as pic

Downey to produce, star in Montiel autobio

CANNES — Robert Downey Jr. will star in “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” an adaptation of Dito Montiel’s autobiography that Downey is producing with Trudie Styler’s Xingu Films.

Montiel will direct the $2.5 million pic from his own script.

Help from above

It’s a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints.

Montiel survived his rough background to become a Calvin Klein model and lead singer of punk-metal band Gutterboy.

Downey plays the lead character as an adult, looking back over his life.

Styler is putting together financing for the project, with the intention of shooting it in October. Xingu has a first-look deal with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp for non-English-speaking territories, but Styler has yet to put the project formally to Besson.

‘Cheeky’ move

Meanwhile, David Thewlis has completed his directorial debut, “Cheeky,” the first pic produced by Xingu in partnership with Europa. The film, which Styler is angling for a world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, includes the first Nirvana song ever licensed for a movie.

Other projects in development at Xingu include the Tuscan cooking comedy “Hunger,” going through a new script draft by writer-director Joel Herschman, and South African drama “Entertaining Angels.”

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