Sellers at the Marche du Film marketplace also use Cannes to draw attention to upcoming projects — some of which are completed and seeking distribution, others in search of financing or pre-sales. A roundup of announcements:
"Spores" — American World Picutres has bought worldwide rights to the thriller about a pharmaceutical test that turns its subjects murderous. Jason Dudek is writing and directing the film, which is expected to begin principal photography in June.
Untitled Jim Jarmusch Project – Director Jarmusch ("Broken Flowers," "Stranger Than Paradise") plans to begin production in January on a love story involving vampires. Tilda Swinton, Michael Fassbender, Mia Wasikowaand John Hurt will appear in the film.
"Highlander"– RCR Media Group will co-finance Summit Entertainment's reboot of the adventure franchise with "Fast Five" director Justin Lin, RCR and Summit announced at Cannes. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway have written the script for the film, which will be produced by Neal H. Moritz and Peter Davis.
"The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes" — Dimension Films and Miramax have announced a January 2012 release for the haunted-house sequel. It will be the first film made under an agreement that allows the Weinstein Company's Dimension to produce sequels to Miramax properties. More info.
"Fairytale of New York"– Kiefer Sutherland will play an Irish standup comic and Kate Bosworth an American art aficionado in Lee Cleary's love story, which will film in Northern Ireland and New York and is being sold in the Cannes marketplace by the Little Film Company. The plot is less gritty than the brilliant Pogues song from which it takes its name, which is set in a New York City drunk tank on Christmas Eve.
"Crooked House"– The British company Brilliant Films and the German Tele Munchen Group are teaming to produce an Agatha Christie adaptation to be directed by Neil LaBute from a screenplay by Julian Fellowes and Tim Rose Price. Matthew Goode, Gemma Arterton and Gabriel Byrne will appear in the film.
"Byzantium"– Gemma Arterton will also star with Saoirse Ronan in the film about a mother-daughter team of vampires, with Oscar-winner Neil Jordan directing and Stephen Wooley producing. The director and producer, whose other collaborations include "The Crying Game," hope to begin shooting in October. The cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.
"Sisters"– Director Terry Loane hopes to begin production in the fall on a 1960s, Northern Ireland-set drama, with Ciaran Hinds attached to star and Tilda Swinton, currently drawing Cannes raves for "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "firmly in [the director's] sights," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Noel Qualter produces for his Cineman Films.
"Leningrad"– "Cinema Paradiso" director Giuseppe Tornatore and producer Avi Lerner will collaborate on an epic film about the Nazi's two-and-a-half year siege of the Russian city during World War II. Lerner told Variety that the film's budget will be $100 million, and that he is in negotiation with a Hollywood studio for U.S. rights.
"The Paperboy" — Lee Daniels ("Precious") will direct, co-produce and co-write the erotic thriller based on the Pete Dexter novel, Nu Image/Millennium Films announced. The film, set in the deep South, will star Matthew McConaughey, Tobey Maguire, Sofia Vergara and Zac Efron.
"Children of the Revolution," "This Is London"– Director Julien Temple ("The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle") is planning a series of documentaries, each one set around the music of a particular city. Docs on Rio de Janeiro and London are expected to shoot this fall, followed by a film about Tijuana. The British company Film & Music Entertainment will produce, with rights for sale through Ealing Metro International.
"Over the Wall"– Kim Basinger and Nick Stahl have joined the cast of Steven Christopher Young's drama about professional stock car racing. International sales for the yet-unfilmed project are being handled by Indomina Releasing.
"uwantme2killhim"– Jack O'Connell and Olly Alexander have landed parts in the Andrew Douglas thriller based on a Vanity Fair article about an online relationship gone bad. The film, which starts production in July, is produced by Bryan Singer, Steve Golin, Peter Heslop and Simon Crocker.
"Bailout" – Jack Black has agreed to star in the comedy based on the 2009 novel "The Financial Lives of the Poets" by Jess Walter, who also wrote the screenplay. Michael Winterbottom is set to direct the film, which begins shooting in August. Ealing Metro International and Prescience will finance and represent the film for international sales. "Bailout" is currently looking for buyers in Cannes' Marche du Film market.
"Thanks for Sharing" – Stuart Blumberg's comedy about New Yorkers in a 12-step program for sex addicts has added Tim Robbins to a cast that also includes Mark Ruffalo, who received an Oscar nomination for "The Kids Are All Right," which Blumberg wrote with Lisa Cholodenko. Financed by Gilbert Films and produced by Gilbert and Class 5, the film begins shooting in the fall. Voltage Pictures is shopping the film internationally at Cannes, while WME and UTA are dealing with U.S. rights.
"The Dallas Buyer's Club" – Content Film has acquired the drama from "C.R.A.Z.Y." and "Young Victoria" director Jean-Marc Vallee for international sales. The story of a man's fight against the Food and Drug Administration, it stars Matthew McConaughey and Hilary Swank and is produced by Robbie Brenner and Nathan Ross. CAA reps the film in North America, while Content will be selling international rights in the Cannes marketplace.
Untitled dark comedy – Focus Features International, Vertebra Films and Cross Creek Pictures will begin production this fall on a yet-unnamed film to star Oscar-winner Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. The film will be written by Becky Johnston ("Seven Years in Tibet") and directed by commercial director Dante Ariola in his feature debut; it stars Firth as a man who fakes his own death in an attempt to escape a life he hates and create a new identity. Complications naturally ensue when he meets a woman (Blunt) who is fleeing her own past. Focus is selling the film internationally at Cannes with Vertebra, while UTA will co-represent North American rights.
"Ride" – Intandem Films is offering foreign rights to the romantic comedy to be directed by actress Helen Hunt, who will also star in the film about a magazine editor who follows her surfer son to California. CAA is handling domestic rights. Hunt has previously directed the feature "Then She Found Me," as well as episodes of "Mad About You" and "Californication."
"Black Rock" – Submarine will be handling international pre-sales at Cannes for the all-female thriller that Katie Aselton has just signed on to as director and star. Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth will also appear in the film, which deals with three childhood friends who find they are not alone on an isolated island. The producers have also launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-source a portion of the film;'s financing.
"Sleight of Hand" – Hannibal Pictures will be pre-selling rights to the action comedy directed by Brad Mirman and starring Kiefer Sutherland, Gerard Depardieu, Thomas Jane, Johnny Hallyday and Jon Lovitz. Production starts in July.