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Hartnett to star in thriller ‘Rain’

Film is director Tran's first English-language pic

After Wong Kar Wai’s “My Blueberry Nights,” Tran Anh Hung is poised to be the next hot Asian helmer to tackle his first English-language pic.

TF1 Intl. is ramping up its sales slate with high-profile English-language projects, including Tran’s $18 million “I Come With the Rain,” starring Josh Hartnett.

Thriller, which also reps a new genre for “The Scent of Green Papaya” helmer, is slated to shoot for 10 weeks in L.A., the Philippines and Hong Kong beginning July 9. Producers are handling sales in the U.S., Canada and France.

Hartnett plays an ex-cop hired by a high-ranking businessman to search for his missing son in the Far East.

HD-shot pic, which will feature music from Gustavo Santaolalla, is produced by Fernando Sulichin’s Central Films and Jean Cazes with John Kilik executive producing.

“It’s not a contemplative film, it’s a thriller, an investigation, but it is a bit mystical and it will bear Tran Anh Hung’s distinctive visual hallmark,” Cazes said.

Coin for the fully financed pic has come from French paybox Canal Plus, the British fund Aramid and several French Sofica funds.

TF1 Intl. recently announced it was handling international sales and French distribution on Bertrand Tavernier’s $21 million, English-language novel adaptation “In the Electric Mist,” starring Tommy Lee Jones.

After Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en rose,” a top seller at Cannes last year, TF1 Intl. will also be touting a couple of big French-language projects: the $20 million Riviera-set comedy thriller “Cash,” starring France’s two hottest Jeans — Reno and Dujardin — that began lensing May 9, and Jean-Paul Salome’s $28 million “Female Agents,” starring Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu and Marie Gillain in a tale about femme spies in World War II that’s in production.

“Cash” is the helming debut of Eric Besnard, scribe on Mathieu Kassovitz’ upcoming “Babylon AD,” and co-stars Valeria Golino and Alice Taglioni. It is produced by former Gaumont topper Patrice Ledoux’s new indie shingle Pulsar.

A new European acquisition on TF1 Intl.’s lineup is the Italo road movie “Flying Lessons,” produced by Cattleya, about two young Italians who travel to India.

In Cannes, TF1 Intl. will also be showing a promo reel of its Canadian beaver tale “White Tuft.” It is also handling international sales on “Mutum,” the Brazilian film that will close Directors’ Fortnight this year.

TF1 Intl. is also looking to broaden its horizons on the TV side. At last month’s Mip TV mart TF1 topper Patrick Binet announced a slate of English-language TV films that the company will co-produce and sell.

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