The director of this year’s slick magic drama Now You See Me and such tentpole fare as Clash Of The Titans and 2008′s The Incredible Hulk will direct Sacha Baron Cohen in Paramount‘s Grimsby, a spy comedy written by Baron Cohen and Phil Johnson. The plot centers on a British black ops agent forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother — a northern English soccer hooligan. Our sister pub Variety broke the Louis Leterrier news first.
The current wave of French directors making Hollywood films seems to have taken Jean-Luc Godard’s advice (“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl”), amped it up with a healthy dash of special effects or 3D and taken it to the bank.
Louis Leterrier, director of The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans, will in January be making Summit’s movie about magicians who rob banks during performances Now You See Me, with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci producing. Fred Cavayé, director of the original French version of the Russell Crowe-thriller The Next Three Days, is in talks with studios to remake his latest, Point Blank.
“I grew up watching American movies, so my lexicon is American directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas,” Leterrier said. “These movies seeped into my artistic DNA. At the same time, because Paris is the capital of world cinema, I was also watching French films, German cinema or kung fu movies from Hong Kong. What makes me and other French directors different from Americans is that we were feeding ourselves from other cultures.”
The communication revolution and modern travel realities are making it easier for French helmers to cross over to Hollywood. Today an agent in Beverly Hills can watch something online and make contact pretty within hours. “There’s a fluid traffic in information,” says Ron Halpern, executive vice-president of international production at Studio Canal. “The world has gotten smaller. The speed of communication means that foreign directors are on people’s radars much quicker. And when a studio is looking for something fresh and interesting, a foreign eye can often bring something.”
2ND UPDATE: Warner Bros closed a deal late last night for Battle: Los Angeles director Jonathan Liebesman to direct Clash of the Titans 2. Production begins February 1 in the UK and possibly Iceland at a budget comparable to the $130 million spent on the original. I’d written yesterday about the ongoing talks that were stuck on money. Later in the day, they found a common ground–the studio came up with more dough. The sequel is a natural considering that the protagonists played by Sam Worthington and Gemma Arterton survived, and the original grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. But Clash benefited by being one of the first major live action films to get a 3D retrofit.