“La Vie en rose” helmer Olivier Dahan has come on board to direct “Un sac de billes” (A Bag of Marbles), a WWII-set adventure drama based on Holocaust survivor Joseph Joffo’s memoirs.
Nicolas Duval, Yann Zenou and Laurent Zeitoun at Paris-based Quad Films are producing. The company’s credits include box office hit comedy “Untouchables” and Pascal Chaumeil’s hit “Heartbreaker.”
The French-language “Marbles” is budgeted between €15 million and €20 million ($19.7 million and $26.3 million).
In France, the book “A Bag of Marbles” is part of the school curriculum, Zeitoun said, adding that it’s also an international bestseller that has been translated into 18 languages. Indeed, an estimated 20 million copies of the book have been sold across 23 countries.
Dahan is penning the adaptation.
“Marbles” opens in 1942 as Joffo, a 10-year-old at the time, and his older brother escape the German Gestapo in Paris and embark on a perilous trip to Southern France to reunite with their family in the free zone.
“Joffo’s story is captivating because it’s told through the eyes of these two kids who are a bit naive, intrepid and don’t realize all the dangers at stake,” Duval said.
Concurred Zenou, “They see the war as a sort of playground.”
“Marbles” is expected to start shooting in March 2013.
Dahan achieved international recognition with Marion Cotillard starrer “La Vie en rose,” the Edith Piaf biopic which grossed $10.3 million in the U.S. and $75.9 million worldwide. Cotillard won an Oscar for her perf as Piaf in the film.
Repped by CAA, Dahan is also attached to direct “Grace,” the English-language drama centering on Grace Kelly that’s being produced by Pierre-Ange Le Pogam’s Stone Angels.