'Emmanuelle' prequel in the works

French duo re-team for $50 mil erotic prequel

CANNES -- "James Bond" watch out. More than a quarter of a century later, French filmmaker Alain Siritzky ("The Pianist") and distributor/exhibitor Alain Sarde are re-teaming to produce a $50 million prequel to their French franchise, "Emmanuelle."

The new film marks the duo's first collaboration since bringing "Emmanuelle 4" to the big screen more than two decades ago.

Production begins in September following an extensive worldwide search for an unknown talent who will become the new young Emmanuelle.

"I am thrilled to announce that we are bringing 'Emmanuelle' to the big screen again after so many years and that my very talented partner is on the film," Sarde said.

Added Siritzky, who originally acquired the audiovisual rights to the erotic novel by Emmanuelle Arsan in the early 1970s: "Cannes is the ideal place to announce this exciting news and to share it with the hundreds of millions 'Emmanuelle' fans throughout the world as well as with a new generation of potential fans. We made history before with 'Emmanuelle' and plan to do it again."

Siritzky recently acquired all the rights to the brand including publishing and merchandising rights.

Over the course of the last 30 years there have been seven official sequels and numerous made-for-TV series of "Emmanuelle."