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CANNES: ‘Spring Breakers’ Producers Learn Riot Control

Way back in 1998, Chris and Roberta Hanley’s Muse Prods. was at the center of a Cannes fest casting brouhaha that involved Leonardo DiCaprio and their film version of Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho.” Leo didn’t wind up in the picture, but the Mary Harron-helmed film helped launch Christian Bale into the acting stratosphere, so there’s your happy Cannes ending.

This year, the indie filmmakers have outdone themselves attention-wise, first aided by James Franco’s Instagram attacks on their “Spring Breakers: The Second Coming” project, which is being actively promoted here by Wild Bunch, then courtesy of talks about talks for roles in the film with members of the Russian dissidents/music artists group Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot issued a statement denying any knowledge of the talks or interest in the project, but as is so often the case with the Hanleys, their ambitions and associations in the edgiest and most colorful extremes of literature and culture has characterized their shingle’s history.

As one veteran distributor who worked with them observed in Cannes this week, “Chris and Roberta will do anything for their movies. There used to be other producers like them in that way, but now there are damn few.”

Chris Hanley said, “We’re spending all our energy here in Cannes on our efforts for ‘Second Coming.’ ” The Hanleys were involved in “Spun,” whose director, Jonas Akerlund, will helm “Coming” from an original screenplay by author Irvine Welsh.

Among their many active film projects, Martin Amis’ “London Fields,” starring Amber Heard and featuring Johnny Depp, will be ready for the fall festival season.

Other projects on the Muse slate include spy thriller “An Expensive Education,” from the novel by Nick McDonell, with a screenplay by Roberta Hanley. Equally edgy and political is their planned film of “The Vatican Connection,” based upon the true story of NYPD Detective Joe Coffey and a case involving Vatican bankers and a shadowy figures from the world’s of politics and global high-finance.

The couple announced the signing of Brit director Michael Winterbottom in Cannes and hope to be in production on the film in late 2014-early 2015.

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