Paradis lined up for 'Midwife Crisis'

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PARIS -- French actress Vanessa Paradis is attached to star in her first English-language film, Mabrouk el Mechri's "The Midwife Crisis," opposite Michael Madsen, producer Gaumont said Tuesday.

The story of a bizarre love affair between a midwife and a lone shark is tentatively set for a seven-week shoot starting in September.

Gaumont will co-produce the film with a still-unannounced New York-based U.S. producer for a budget of less than €10 million ($15.47 million), though no final budget has been set.

El Mechri plans to cast U.S. actors for his big-screen follow-up to his upcoming June release, Gaumont's Jean-Claude Van Damme starrer "J.C.V.D."

Said el Mechri: "It's 'Punch Drunk Love'-y. It's not your typical cheesy romantic comedy. It's not Hugh Grant. I don't want to film New York like a tourist. No squirrels in Union Square, no zooming in from the Empire State Building to a close-up of Vanessa Paradis."

Producers are hoping to close the budget with presales in Cannes.

Added el Mechri: "New York is a real character in the storytelling. The specificity in New York is that there's a real tradition to this city, and I hope my film will have its place in that tradition."
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