Alexandra Daddario (“True Detective,” “San Andreas”) is in advanced negotiations to take one of the lead roles.
TF1 Intl. reps the English-language project and will kick off pre-sales at Berlin’s European Film Market.
Gemma Arterton (“Hansel And Gretel”), Abel Jafri (“Timbuktu”) and Seema Biswas (“The Queen Bandit”) complete the cast.
“Extraordinary Journey” will mark the most ambitious project undertaken by Satrapi, the Iranian-born French comicbook artist and filmmaker behind Cannes’ jury prize winner “Persepolis” and “Chicken With Plums.”
Satrapi made her English-language debut with “The Voices” starring Ryan Reynolds.
Luc Bossi’s Brio Films is lead producing. Vamonos Films, Italy’s Paco Cinematografica and India’s Little Red Car are co-producing. “Extraordinary Journey” has already been picked up by SquareOne in Germany.
The comedy adventure tale is based on Romain Puértolas’ bestselling debut novel “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe,” which came out in 2014 and has been translated into 35 languages. The novel follows the pilgrimage of a con man from India to an Ikea in Paris.
Satrapi’s film will follow the epic journey of a wild storyteller from New Delhi to Paris, where he falls in love with a woman and accidentally gets deported, along with a band of African refugees, to the far corners of Europe.
“It’s a story about love, magic and adventure and it takes place across three continents. I’m drawn to fantasy stories and I love creating worlds that don’t exist, imagining things in bigger and more beautiful ways,” said Satrapi, who aims at weaving fantasy with realism, grounding the story in today’s world and touching on the condition of refugees.
Bossi, who co-wrote the big screen adaptation with Puértolas and Jon Goldman (“Diplomacy”), said the film shared similarities with Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel,” Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Roberto Benigni’s “Life Is Beautiful.”
Spearheaded by Avy Kaufman, the international casting is a key element of this project. Satrapi placed a large emphasis on bringing together a wide range of actors coming from diverse horizons to reflect the book’s spirit.
Dhanush follows the footsteps of a growing number of Indian stars who have been getting international parts over the past few years. Recent examples include Irrfan Khan (“Jurassic World”), Anil Kapoor (“24”), Priyanka Chopra (“Quantico”) and Om Puri (“The Hundred-Foot Journey”).
Pic will be shooting in June in Paris, Rome, Jodhpur and Casablanca with a crew that includes cinematographer Maxime Alexandre (“Warrior’s Gate,” “The Voices”).
Satrapi is repped by UTA, Thurman is repped by CAA and Abdi is repped by SMS Talent. Daddario is repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment.
Patrick Frater contributed to this report.