Depardieu in lineup for 'Instinct'

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Gerard Depardieu will add his face to the first installment of Jean- Francois Richet's two-film project about infamous gangster Jacques Mesrine, known in France as "The Man With 1,000 Faces."

"L'Instinct de mort" (Death Instinct) and "L'Ennemi public n°1" (Public Enemy No. 1), penned by Abdel Raouf Dafri and produced by Thomas Langmann's production company La Petite Reine, will highlight the murders and mysteries surrounding Mesrine, played by Vincent Cassel.

Depardieu will play Mesrine's fellow gangster and mentor in "Instinct," and familiar faces Marion Cotillard and Eva Green also are reported to be attached to the venture with a budget of €35 million-€40 million ($46.2 million-$52.8 million).

The confirmed cast for "Enemy" includes Samuel Le Bihan, Olivier Gourmet, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Gilles Lellouche.

The project came close to being made four years ago with Barbet Schroeder at the helm and financing provided by UGC, but Cassel pulled out, and the films were put on hold until Langmann took over and opted to produce under his La Petite Reine banner.

Canal Plus and M6 Films are on board as co-producers, with additional financial backing from France's Haute-Normandie region. The movies will be filmed in reverse order, with "Enemy" ready to begin its 15-week shoot April 30 in France and "Instinct" to commence filming Aug. 20 in France, Canada, Spain and Algeria.

Pathe will handle the films' French release and international sales, which already have begun at this year's markets.

Helmer Richet's most recent film, 2005's "Assault on Precinct 13," attracted a good crowd in the U.S. with more than $20 million in boxoffice receipts.
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