Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp announced Wednesday at the opening day of Cannes that it will finance, distribute and co-produce with Pinguin Films and Dean Nichols Productions.
The film will be based on Virginia Vallejo’s 2008 bestselling Spanish-language memoir “Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar.” Spanish director Fernando León de Aranoa (“A Perfect Day”) will direct from his own script.
Producers for the film are Dean Nichols, Javier Bardem and EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert. Executive producers are Jere Hausfater, Dany Boon and Todd Nichols. International sales for the film will be launching in Cannes.
Bardem and Cruz teamed previously on “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” for which Cruz won a best supporting actress Oscar. Bardem worked with León de Aranoa on “Mondays in the Sun.”
“A Perfect Day,” the Spanish director’s first English-language film, will premiere as part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors Fortnight.
“Escobar” will follows the rise of Pablo Escobar, the ruthless Colombian drug king who died in a shootout in 1993 after his reign had helped plunged his country into chaos.
Vallejo’s memoir describes her romantic relationship with Escobar along with origins of the rebel organizations in Colombia, reasons for the growth of the cocaine industry, the horrors of narcoterrorism during 1988-93 and the links of the Medellin and Cali cartels with Caribbean dictators and Colombian presidents. She testified in 2008 in the reopened case of the 1985 Palace of Justice siege in which more than 100 people died and was granted asylum in the U.S. in 2010.
Bardem is starring in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” due out July 7, 2017. Cruz will appear next year in “Zoolander 2” and “Grimsby.”
Escobar was portrayed by Benicio Del Toro in “Escobar: Paradise Lost,” the directorial debut of Italian actor Andrea Di Stefano. It combined the true story of the drug king with a love story between a young Canadian surfer, played by “Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson, and Escobar’s niece (Claudia Traisac).
Radius had scheduled “Escobar: Paradise Lost” for release in the U.S. in January but pulled the film out of its slot without giving a reason and has not rescheduled the release. The film received positive notices at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals.
“Escobar” is the second major project unveiled in two days by EuropaCorp, which announced Tuesday that it had hired Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne to star in sci-fier “Valerian,” to be release in summer 2017.