Besson (“Lucy,” “Taken”) penned “DogMan” and will direct it, on top of producing via his banner LBP. EuropaCorp, the company founded by Besson and now owned by New York-based Vine Alternative, is co-producing the movie.
“DogMan” is expected to enter production in May and will be shot mainly in France and the U.S. The film tells the sprawling story of a child, bruised by life, who grows to find his salvation through the love of his dogs.
Producers are Virginie Besson-Silla, who produced Besson’s last five films including “Lucy” as well as Guy Ritchie’s “Revolver,” and Steve Rabineau, who joined LBP in 2019 after a successful career as a top agent at WME for over three decades.
Before his laureled performance in Justin Kurzel’s “Nitram,” Landry Jones starred in Sean Baker’s Oscar-nominated “The Florida Project” and a pair of Oscar-winning films including Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The Texas native, who is also a musician, has released two albums: “The Mother Stone” and “Gadzooks Vol. 1.”
“DogMan” will mark a comeback for Besson after a three-year hiatus following “Anna,” an action thriller released in 2019 with Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans and Cillian Murphy.
Over the last 30 years, Besson has been the primary purveyor of French-produced English-language movies worldwide and has delivered some of France’s biggest blockbusters, mostly action thrillers such as “The Professional” with Natalie Portman and Jean Reno, “La Femme Nikita” with Anne Parillaud, and most recently the Taken franchise with Liam Neeson and “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson.
Besson also ventured into sci-fi with “The Fifth Element” with Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, and “Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets,” which had a $180 million budget and grossed $225.8 million worldwide.
The latter movie’s underwhelming performance pushed EuropaCorp deeper in the red, eventually leading the struggling company to finalize a restructuring deal with New York-based Vine Alternative Investments (which also has a controlling stake in Village Roadshow Entertainment Group) in February 2020. Besson also faced misconduct allegations from Dutch-Belgian actor Sand Van Roy, which were dismissed by the magistrate late last year following a lengthy investigation.
Besson, who splits his time between Paris and Los Angeles, is currently developing several projects spanning movies and TV series via his banner LBT. He has been invited to participate in next month’s debates on European cultural industries organized by the French National Assembly as part of France’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2022.