Ben Mendelsohn enters ‘Pines’

'Animal Kingdom' thesp joins Gosling, Cooper

Exclusive: Ben Mendelsohn is maintaining the momentum generated by his breakout perf in last year’s crime pic “Animal Kingdom,” with the Aussie thesp in negotiations to co-star alongside Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines.”

Multi-generational crime drama finds Gosling playing a pro motorcycle rider who starts robbing banks to support his newborn son until he crosses paths with a determined young cop, to be played by Cooper.

Eva Mendes is set to play Gosling’s love interest and the mother of his child, while Greta Gerwig is in talks to play Cooper’s wife. Mendelsohn will play Robin Van Der Zee, a mechanic who takes a shine to Gosling and brings him into his bank robbing operation.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment is financing and producing the pic, which is slated to start production July 25 in Schenectady, N.Y. Cianfrance co-wrote “Pines” with Ben Coccio and Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer is handling foreign sales.

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Sidney Kimmel will produce along with the “Blue Valentine” trio of Alex Orlovsky, Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricof, while SKE’s Jim Tauber and Matt Berenson will exec produce.

Mendelsohn will soon be seen in Joel Schumacher’s Nicolas Cage-Nicole Kidman thriller “Trespass” and in Open Road Films’ actioner “Killer Elite,” which will be released Sept. 23. Thesp most recently wrapped The Weinstein Co.’s Brad Pitt-starrer “Cogan’s Trade.” Mendelsohn is repped by ICM and RGM Artist Group.