Luc Besson‘s EuropaCorp announced Wednesday in Cannes that it will finance, distribute and co-produce with Pinguin Films and Dean Nichols Productions the Pablo Escobar biopic Escobar, starring Academy Award winners Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.
Based on Virginia Vallejo’s 2008 best-selling Spanish-language memoir Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar, Fernando Leon de Aranoa (A Perfect Day, Mondays in the Sun, Familia) will write and direct the biopic of the Colombian drug lord.
Producers are Dean Nichols, Bardem and EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert. Jere Hausfater, Dany Boon and Todd Nichols will serve as executive producers.
The movie will follow the rise of Escobar on his way to becoming one of the most powerful drug lords of all time. International sales for the film, which is expected to start shooting later this year, launch in Cannes.
EuropaCorp’s slate of upcoming films also includes, among others, action thriller Twice, based on an original idea by Besson; The Transporter Refueled, the start of a new trilogy of the action franchise; thriller Shut In, starring Naomi Watts; and comedy Nine Lives, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner and Christopher Walken.