‘Of Gods and Men’ helmer set for ‘Gloire’

Why Not, Films du Fleuve, Rita produce

France’s Xavier Beauvois, helmer of hit “Of Gods and Men,” is set to follow up with his first comedy, “La Rancon de la gloire.”

Currently being written with “Gods” co-scribe Etienne Comar, “Gloire” is a quirky heist comedy set in Switzerland, in the vein of Ken Loach’s “The Angels’ Share.”

It turns on two broke men who hatch a hair-brained scheme to kidnap the coffin of Charles Chaplin, who died in Switzerland on Christmas Day in 1977, and extort money from his family.

Roschdy Zem, who shared best actor at Cannes for “Days of Glory,” and Benoit Poelvoorde (“Coco Before Chanel”), co-star.

Pascal Caucheteux’s Paris-based Why Not Prods. lead produces; Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Brussels-based Les Films du Fleuve and Switzerland’s Rita Prods. co-produce.

“Gloire” is inspired by a real incident, in which two unemployed mechanics dug up Chaplin’s coffin and attempted to extract a ransom from his widow, Oona Chaplin.

Pic pulled down a reimbursable €650,000 ($852,150) grant in Eurimages funding. It’s skedded to shoot this spring.

A company that shies away from public glare, Why Not is the longterm producer of Beauvois, Loach, Jacques Audiard and Arnaud Desplechin.

Recent credits at Why Not, many of whose films are sold by Wild Bunch, include Loach’s “The Angels’ Share,” Audiard’s Celluloid Dreams-sold “Rust & Bone” — also co-produced by Les Films du Fleuve, and nominated for two Golden Globes — and Arnaud Desplechin’s English-language debut, “Jimmy Picard,” with Benicio del Toro.

Establishing Beauvois as an auteur with audience reach, the Wild Bunch-sold “Of Gods and Men” took Cannes’ 2010 Grand Prix, a best film Cesar and $26.4 million at the French box office.

It grossed $4 million for Sony Pictures Classics from a November 2011 bow in the U.S.