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Wild Bunch Wrestles Roschdy Zem’s ‘Bodybuilder’

Wild Bunch's reduced lineup of French films includes Fabrice du Welz' "Colt 45" (pictured)

PARIS– Reteaming with leading French production outfit Why Not, Wild Bunch has come on board to  handle international sales on thesp-turned-helmer Roschdy Zem’s social dramedy “Bodybuilder” in the run-up to the UniFrance Rendez-vous mini-mart in Paris.

Penned by Zem and Julie Peyr (“Jimmy P.”), “Bodybuilder” tells the tale of a 20-year-old boy who reunites with his father, whom he’s never met, and discovers the world of professional bodybuilders. 
Zem, whose best-known acting credits include Rachid Bouchareb’s “Days of Glory” and “Outside The Law,” earned critical acclaim with his debut, “Bad Faith,” a comedy turning on the complicated romance between a Jewish woman (Cecile de France) and a Muslim man (played by Zem himself), and sophomore outing “Omar Killed Me,” a drama chronicling the real-life story of Omar Raddad, a Moroccan immigrant who was unjustly convicted of a murder.
“Faith” earned a Cesar nomination for best first film, while “Omar” was nominated for two Cesar awards (script and thesp for Sami Bouajila), repped Morocco in the Oscar foreign-language race and was shortlisted in 2012. 
“Bodybuilder” is part of Wild Bunch’s reduced slate of Gallic films. Co-founded by Vincent Maraval, the studio has become increasingly selective with French films’ pickups but sees crossover potential in the tightly-budgeted “Bodybuilder.”

“‘Bodybuilder’ treats a unique subject very rarely explored in cinema, bodybuilding, in a way that mixes ‘The Wrestler’ and Ken Loach comedies like ‘Looking for Eric’ or ‘Angel’s Share,’ said Maraval. “It has the human touch to become a commercial quality film.”
Pic toplines real-life bodybuilder Francois Yolin Gauvin, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Vincent Rottiers and Marina Fois; and is produced by Zem’s Hole in One Films shingle and Why Not. 
At the UniFrance Rendez-vous, Wild Bunch will also be unveiling a promo of comicbook-based “Nicholas on Holiday,” which Maraval describes as “Tati-esque,” and Fabrice du Welz’ dark-edged actioner “Colt 45” about a 25-year old firearms instructor who gets embroiled with a corrupt cop who drags him into a spiral of crimes. 
“Nicholas” is the sequel of “Little Nicholas,” which turned out to be 2009’s highest-grossing French film, earning $48.2 million in Gaul.
The UniFrance Rendez-vous with French cinema in Paris kicks off Friday, running through Jan. 20.


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