Studiocanal Boards Gilles Lellouche Thriller ‘Bac Nord’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Studiocanal has come on board “Bac Nord” from Cedric Jimenez (“The Man With the Iron Heart”), a French crime thriller with Gilles Lellouche set in the dangerous northern neighborhoods of Marseille.

The movie reteams Studiocanal with Hugo Sélignac and Vincent Mazel at Chi-Fou-Mi Productions, the Paris-based company behind the Cesar-nominated “Sink or Swim,” one of France’s highest-grossing local movies in 2018, and “In Safe Hands,” both of which were handled by Studiocanal.

“‘Bac Nord’ marks our fifth collaboration with Hugo Selignac, a talented and ambitious French producer,” said Nicolas Dumont, Studiocanal’s exec VP of French production, theatrical distribution and home entertainment. Dumont cited Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim,” Jeanne Herry’s “In Safe Hands,” Francois Damiens’s “Mon Ket” and Romain Gavras’ “The World Is Yours.”

Studiocanal is co-producing the film with France 2 Cinéma and has acquired all rights, including the international sales.

“Bac Nord” will follow a police brigade in a neighborhood of Marseille where the level of crime is higher than anywhere else in France. It will be the first fiction film shot in this area.

“Bac Nord” will bring together a strong cast of French stars, including Lellouche; Francois Civil (“Wolf’s Call”), who won the Chopard Trophy Award for rising talent at Cannes; Karim Leklou, who earned a Cesar nomination for best newcomer for his performance in “The World Is Yours”; Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue Is the Warmest Color”); and Kenza Fortas, who just won best female newcomer at the Cesar Awards for her role in “Shéhérazade.”

A native of Marseille, Jimenez penned the script with Audrey Diwan, his co-screenwriter of “The Connection” and the Rosamund Pike-starrer “The Man With the Iron Heart,” in collaboration with Benjamin Charbit (“En liberté!”).

Jimenez said “Bac Nord” would be told from the perspective of the cops, who are put under pressure from their hierarchy to achieve results at all costs.

Comparing the project to his last two movies, Jimenez said “Bac Nord” would have the same underlying theme of people who are being crushed by their hierarchies.

“‘Bac Nord’ is the type of strongly packaged French movie that we’re looking for at Studiocanal because it’s got an international appeal even if it’s got a very local footprint,” said Dumont. The exec said the project “will not be a plain crime thriller and will boast social and political themes; it will depict today’s French society with richly layered characters.”

Dumont said that although it’s the first time Studiocanal has boarded a movie directed by Jimenez, its sister company, pay-TV channel Canal Plus, had bought his previous films and had helped finance his first film as a producer “Aux yeux de tous.”

The movie will start shooting Aug. 5 for six weeks on location in the south of France.

Studiocanal will release the movie in France during the second semester of 2020.

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