WB France, Jeunet in new 'Dealings'

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PARIS -- Jean-Pierre Jeunet is reteaming with Warner Bros. France for his next film, "Dodgy Dealings by the Dozen," a satire set in the arms trade, Warners said Wednesday.

The French-language movie will star Gallic stand-up comic/actor Jamel Debbouze, who previously worked with Jeunet on "Amelie." Debbouze's credits include World War II drama "Days of Glory," for which he shared a best actor award at the Festival de Cannes.

"Dealings" is co-written by Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, who co-wrote both "Amelie" and Jeunet's previous picture, the World War I romance "A Very Long Engagement."

Shooting is scheduled to start in April in France, with a release planned for the following year. Warners said that an announcement on the rest of the cast will be made soon.

Budgeted at about €27 million ($40 million), "Dealings" will be produced by Frederic Brillion and Gilles Legrand through Epithete Films, and Jeunet's Tapioca Films, in partnership with Warners France, which will handle local theatrical and video distribution. No international sales agent is yet attached to the project.

Warners France will not, however, go the same route as it did for "Engagement," a film which it majority-financed through a specially created French company in a move designed to tap into the local funding system. That setup provoked a furor in the French film industry, with some seeing it as Hollywood trying to siphon off cash from Gallic cinema.

The French courts ultimately ruled that "Engagement" could not be considered a French film for funding purposes because its production company was controlled by extra-European capital.
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