Zac Efron to play money launderer

6:59 PM PST 04/14/2010 by Borys Kit, Matthew Belloni

THR EXCLUSIVE

Get ready for Zac Efron, the money launderer.

Efron is attached to star in and produce a remake of "Snabba cash," the hot Swedish property that was the subject of a heavy Hollywood bidding war and has just found a home at Warner Bros.

Warners bought the remake rights for Efron to produce via the new Warners-based shingle he runs with manager Jason Barrett.

Atlas Entertainment's Charles Roven and Richard Suckle are producing along with original producer Fredrik Wikstrom. Michael Hjorth will exec produce.

"Snabba" is based on a novel by Jens Lapidus and was a major hit in its home country this year. The thriller follows three interconnected storylines involving drugs and organized crime, with the main character a young man (played in the original by Joel Kinnaman) who hopes to strike it rich quickly by becoming a runner for a coke dealer. Efron would play the runner in the WB version.

Many producers and companies were vying for remake rights. The buzz began at the Berlin Film Festival, and UTA and Magnolia Entertainment threw a reception for the movie's filmmaker Daniel Espinosa at the Hammer Museum in March and screened his movie.

From then, offers started to pour in like easy money (which is what "snabba cash" means in Swedish) from Universal, Summit, Paramount, Fox, the Weinstein Co., Mandate and Warners.

The deal has a progress-to-production, or "short fuse" clause, so if Warners sits on it for too long, the rights revert to the producers.

Jon Berg is overseeing for Warners.

For Efron, repped by CAA and Alchemy Entertainment, "Snabba" represents an opportunity for the youngster to grow beyond the teen roles that made him a star. The project, the first acquisition for Efron's shingle, also sends a signal as to the sort of high-level material with which Efron wants to be associated.

Tre Vanner Produktion, the banner behind "Snabba," is repped by attorney Linda Lichter.
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