Caramel Films and Mednick Prods. have tapped “Penny Dreadful” star Josh Hartnett to topline the police thriller “Gut Instinct,” with shooting set for April in Montreal, Vancouver and Thailand.

Daniel Roby is directing from his own script, based on actual events in 1989 with three interconnected stories: an ex-heroin junkie who gets trapped by a crime organization to set up a drug deal in Thailand, an undercover cop who’s humiliated and decides to take a shortcut to enhance the performance of his team and investigative reporter Victor Malarek, played by Hartnett, who’s forced to re-evaluate his methods after the birth of his first child.

The U.S. sales for the film at the American Film Market are being handled by UTA. International sales are being handled by Caramel Films.

Malarek, now 67, is still actively doing in-depth investigations for TV and acted as a consultant on the film script. He worked for the Globe & Mail newspaper in the ’80s.

Roby’s credits include “Funktown,” “Louis Cyr: The Strongest Man in the World” and “White Skin,” which won the award for best Canadian first feature at the Toronto Film Festival in 2004.

Producers on “Gut Instinct” are Andre Rouleau and Valerie d’Auteuil of Caramel Films in association with Mednick Productions and executive producer Scott Mednick and Roby.

Hartnett is represented by UTA and Management 360. Roby is represented by Agence MVA, CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.