“Nymphomaniac” star stacy Martin is set to topline “Taj Mahal,” a high-concept thriller set against the backdrop of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.
Sold by BAC Films and produced by Patrick Sobelman at Agat Films, “Taj Mahal” will be directed by Nicolas Saada, who also penned the script.
Saada ranks as one of France’s best-known screenwriters of thrillers and spy movies. The last movie penned by Saada, “Sleepless Night” (also handled by BAC), is being remade by Warner Bros. in the U.S. Saada made his directorial debut with the Guillaume Canet starrer “Spy(ies),” a critical hit nominated for a Cesar and selected for Chicago, Rome and Tel Aviv film festivals.
Led by Gilles Sousa, BAC Films’ international sales team will present “Taj Mahal” to buyers at Toronto.
Budgeted in the $10 million range, the pic takes place over one night inside Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which was seized by terrorists who took guests hostage in 2008. The events are told through the eyes of Martin’s character, a guest trapped in her room.
The movie will also depict the assault realistically as it unfolded.
“ ‘Taj Mahal’ entails an enormous amount of preparatory work on special effects, (the shooting) in India and in the studio, where a large part of the story will unfold,” Saada said. “The mood of the film … lies somewhere between the classic intensity of a thriller and the portrait of a character left to her own devices, who quickly learns the true meaning of solitude.”
Pic will shoot in French and English with an international cast including Alba Rohrwacher (“The Wonders”) and Louis-Do de Lencquesaing (“Superstar”). Gina McKee (“Jimmy P.”) also stars.
“Saada has proven with ‘Spy(ies)’ and particularly with ‘Sleepless Night,’ his talent for developing strong concepts and creating suspenseful atmospheres in huis-clos, by keeping a unity of time and place,” said Sousa, who sold “Sleepless Night” worldwide. “ ‘Taj Mahal’ has the right pedigree to draw international distributors.”
Pic is financed by Paris-based Backup Media. “When dealing with French movies we seldom get that excited about the cast but having a rising star like Stacy Martin on board as the main character is huge bonus for this movie, which already relies on a strong concept and a story based on a real event,” said Joel Thibout, co-founder of Backup Media.
The movie shoots next month for an expected delivery next spring.
Martin, who has Matteo Garrone’s “Tale of Tales” on deck, is repped by UTA.