EXCLUSIVE: Hot off the hit sequel Taken 2, director Olivier Megaton has been set by Emmett/Furla Films to next helm the $60 million action thriller Taking Gotham. The Thomas Kelly-scripted film, based on actual events, is about a secret unit of the NYPD that was created in response to a string of brutal robberies in New York City. After a deadly sting operation, the elite unit is disavowed by the NYPD, forcing them to go deep underground in order to clear their names. Production will get underway next March. The film earlier had Brass Monkey helmer Nicolai Fuglsig attached, but it will be Megaton who directs this, and casting will begin immediately.
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.”
Sony Pictures has issued a trailer for Colombiana, which stars Avatar’s Zoe Saldana as a stone-cold assassin. It’s directed by Olivier Megaton, whom Deadline was the first to tell you would be directing Liam Neeson in Taken 2. The pic is written by the Taken team of Luc Besson and …