Rolling off the success of “Heartbreaker,” Universal Pictures Intl. is set to reteam with Quad Prods. on Marion Cotillard starrer “Vivre c’est mieux que mourir” (Living Is Better Than Dying).
“Living” reunites the creative team behind “Heartbreaker” — scribe Laurent Zeitoun, helmer Pascal Chaumeil, Gallic star Romain Duris and Belgian thesp Francois Damiens.
UPI will co-produce the $20 million pic with Quad’s Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou and Zeitoun.
The spy comedy follows a clumsy hotel clerk who steals money from a guest without realizing that he’s being filmed. He hides from the police in the room of a Hollywood producer, who mistakes him for a director and asks him to pitch a project. The clerk’s pitch envisions him as a kickass CIA agent on a mission in Russia.
Lensing will kick off next summer and UPI France will release the film in 2012.
Paris-based Kinology will handle international sales.
It’s the fourth French co-production on UPI’s slate. Earlier this year, UPI released Eric Elmosnino starrer “Gainsbourg,” helmer Michael Youn’s “Fatal” and “Heartbreaker,” which is one of Gaul’s biggest box-office earners this year, taking $29.5 million.
Brit shingle Working Title is in development with UPI for an English remake of “Heartbreaker,” penned by Jeremy Doner.
“We’re continuing our ongoing strategy of releasing local films in France,” said Christian Grass, UPI prexy of acquisitions and production. “Our main objective in France is to build a slate of local-language movies and that’s the business we want to be in.”
He added: “There’s a huge amount of filmmaking and writing talent in France and a sizable market share of local films. It’s an important market and we want to continue to be active in the region.”
UPI also is on board to co-finance two more French-language pics: Gilles Legrand’s drama/mystery “Des Vents contraires,” starring Audrey Tautou, and thesp-turned-helmer Jalil Lespert’s thriller “Tu seras mon fils.” Both will be released in Gaul by UPI France.
Based on a novel by Olivier Adam (“Don’t Worry, I’m Fine”), “Des Vents contraires” centers on a writer crippled by the sudden death of his wife who retreats to his coastal hometown with his children, hoping to become a better father.
Benoit Magimel (“Little White Lies”) and Isabelle Carre (“Tellement Proches”) also star. Pic is produced by Wy Productions. Lensing will commence in January.
Produced by Epithete Films, “Tu seras mon fils” examines the strained relationship between a vineyard owner in Bordeaux and his son.
The film stars Niels Arestrup (“A Prophet”) and Lorant Deutsch (“Jean de la Fontaine”). Pic will be released during the third quarter of 2011.
“We carefully select our projects in order to give them the best chance of success,” said Stephane Huard, managing director of UPI France. “UPI provides a unique service to French productions and it is a pleasure to partner with French producers on such high-quality projects.”
Grass added that UPI are working on “one or two more” French co-productions, expected to be announced within the next month.