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AFM: Melanie Laurent to Direct Ben Foster, Elle Fanning in English-Language Debut ‘Galveston’

French actress-turned-director Mélanie Laurent is set to direct Ben Foster (“Hell or High Water”) and Elle Fanning (“The Neon Demon”) in “Galveston” which will mark Laurent’s English-language directorial debut.

Produced by Tyler Davidson’s Low Spark Films (“Take Shelter”), “Galveston” will start shooting on Jan. 10.

London-based sales company Embankment Films will start pre-selling the project this week at the AFM.

Based on the award-winning novel of the same name by “True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto, “Galveston” is described by Embankment Films as a “visceral crime thriller set in a boiling cauldron of violence and desperation, where two hard-luck outsiders are on the run.” The film turns on a debt-collector who flees to Galveston, Texas to lie low after surviving an assassination attempt from his loan-sharking boss.

Davidson will serve as producer. Jean Doumanian, Patrick Daly, Kevin Flanigan and Sean O’Brien will executive produce.

Laurent’s last feature film, “Breathe” played at Cannes’s Critics Week and earned upbeat reviews, while her documentary “Demain” was a box office hit in France and earned a Cesar nod (France’s top film award) for best documentary film. One of France’s most popular actresses, Laurent has starred in a flurry of English-language films, including “Enemy,” “Now You See Me,””Beginners” and “Inglorious Basterds.”

“‘Pizzolatto’s gripping writing has assembled brilliant talent. Mélanie’s confident debut Breathe showcased both her ability to create insightful, sympathetic characters experiencing heart-wrenching emotional change, and her natural control of atmosphere and plot,” said Davidson.

“(Laurent) will direct subtle and moving performances, and transport us the audience through the breath- taking Texan landscape and the shocking, sudden violence of its criminal world. She couldn’t have had a better filmmaking experience as an actress working with the likes of Villeneuve, Tarantino and Audiard,'” added Davidson.

Laurent said she was drawn to the project before of the depth of his characters. “It is rare to read something that delivers so convincingly as a thriller but also as a moving, honest exploration of damaged souls,” explained Laurent.

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