CineEurope: StudioCanal's Slate Includes Dope Cheats, Gangsters and Animated Adventures

Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong Still - H 2013

Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong Still - H 2013

The French banner returned to the Barcelona trade show for a second time with exclusive new footage and messages from Zac Efron, Idris Elba and Stephen Frears.

Having debuted in CineEurope in 2014, StudioCanal returned to the Barcelona trade show following a phenomenally successful year that saw family hit-maker Paddington and Liam Neeson actioner Non-Stop accumulate more than $500 million combined for the French banner.

Atop its presentations were three upcoming films from its partnership with U.K.-based production powerhouse Working Title.

Arguably, the most eagerly anticipated of the trio was The Program, Steven Frears Lance Armstrong biopic. In a special video made for CineEurope, Frears described the disgraced cycling champion as the “most complicated man in the world.”

On stage, StudioCanal’s vp international distribution, Simon Bobin — whose wife actually gave birth to their second child the day before he presented last year — said the film was an “intense suspense thriller.”

“I’m a reasonable cycling fan and I thought I knew everything, but through [The Program] I learned how and why Armstrong did what he did,” he added.

Two new scenes were shown from upcoming DJ drama We Are Your Friends, while star Zac Efron gave a special video shout-out, describing the film as something that feels “right here and now.”

Speaking on stage, director Max Joseph (Catfish: The TV Show) said that he was “so psyched” at being able to make the movie, adding that there was going to be a big push on social media and that between Efron, fellow star Emily Ratajkowsi and others involved they had “around 40 million” followers across various platforms.

The third and by far the most violent of the Working Title projects shown was British gangster film Legend, in which, Bobin said, Tom Hardy gave “possible Oscar contender” performances as both of London’s notorious Kray twins. Bobin compared the film to Scarface, but said that “Al Pacino wouldn’t stand a chance against Tom Hardy, at least not two of them.”

Elsewhere in StudioCanal’s hourlong presentation there was an extended battle scene from Macbeth, already a buzz title having bowed in Cannes, plus new footage from A Bigger Splash. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson, it was described as a “sexy stylish thriller” by Rodolphe Buet, StudioCanal’s president of international distribution and marketing.

There was a serving of energetic clips from Bastille Day, starring Idris Elba and Richard Madden and described as a “high octane action thriller” involving a “major terrorist attack in Paris,” according to Bobin.

Although there was no footage from spy drama Our Kind of Traitor, starring Homeland actor Damian Lewis and Elba, Buet was keen to point out that StudioCanal had the “two actors being considered for the next Bond.”

Finally, StudioCanal moved to its family offerings. While it is unlikely to emulate 2014’s success of Paddington and Shaun the Sheep the Movie, in animated adventure Robinson Crusoe — due out this Christmas — it is looking to kick-start another franchise.

Two extended clips from from the 3D movie were shown, while CineEurope audiences also were treated to behind-the-scenes shots and illustrations from StudioCanal’s upcoming project with multi-Oscar-winning U.K. animation studio Aardman.

Early Man is a story of cavemen and football, a “crazy funny adventure,” according to director Nick Park, that also features a “giant man-eating duck.”

And as for Paddington, which became the biggest family film outside U.S. studios and the biggest U.K. film of 2014, Buet concluded that news of the sequel would be revealed “in the coming months.”