PARIS — John C. Reilly has joined the cast of “Les Cowboys,” the anticipated feature debut of Thomas Bidegain, the critically-hailed screenwriter of “Rust and Bone” and “A Prophet.”
Reilly will play opposite French newcomer Finnegan Oldfield (“Bang Gang”) and well-seasoned Belgian thesp Francois Damiens (“Heartbreaker”).
Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor, the outfit behind Cannes players such as Guillaume Canet’s “Blood Ties” and Maiwenn’s “Polisse,” is lead-producing the movie. Belgium’s Lumière and Les Films du Fleuve, the Dardennes brothers’ outfit, are co-producing.
Pathe has acquired international sales rights and will be distributing in France. Pic marks the first collaboration between Les Productions du Tresor and Pathe, the French studio that also handles English-language movies like Stephen Frears’ “Florence” with Meryl Streep.
Penned by Bidegain and regular co-scribe Noé Debré, “Cowboys” follows a father (Damiens) who teams with his son (Oldfield) to search for his daughter, who disappeared after starting to date a young man who is a Muslim fundamentalist. The pair sets off on a journey to find the young woman at all costs and travel across the globe, from Lyon to Pakistan, where they enlist the help of an American headhunter (Reilly).
“‘Les Cowboys’ touches on serious issues which have social, political and religious implications but our primary endeavor with this film is to depict how the disappearance of this daughter breaks apart the family and the tragedy that stems from it,” Attal told Variety.
Bidegain, one of France’s hottest screenwriters, built his reputation as Jacques Audiard’s regular collaborator and notably won a Cesar award for “A Prophet.” Bidegain also co-penned Audiard’s latest film, “Erran” which is now shooting, and is reportedly on board to write “The Faithful” with director Michael R. Roskam.
“Cowboys” has just started shooting and will wrap on Jan. 23. Filming locations include France (at Charleville-Mezieres, Sedan and Lyon), Belgium (Anvers and Liège) and India (Rajasthan).
The project, budgeted at 8 million Euros ($10 million) has already attracted major support from Gaul’s free-to-air and pay TV channels, France 2, Canal +, Ciné, as well the national film institute CNC with its advance on receipts funds.