Cassel to topline ‘Mesrine’

Pic to focus on 18 months after criminal's escape

PARIS — Gallic thesp Vincent Cassel will play the title role in “Mesrine,” based on the life of France’s public enemy No. 1, Jacques Mesrine.

Pic will be helmed by Barbet Schroeder and produced by Thomas Langmann’s La Petite Reine. Langmann was named one of Variety‘s 10 Producers to Watch. Company has a taste for Gallic criminals — it is producing “The French Hustler,” an adaptation of the life of con artist Christophe Rocancourt.

Jacques Mesrine, jailed several times for theft, hostage taking and breaking and entering, made a spectacular prison break in May 1978. Pic will focus on the 18 months after his escape, until he was killed fleeing police in 1979.

Cassel recently finished helmer Jan Kounen’s “Blueberry” to be released in Gaul Nov. 26.

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