FilmDistrict Nabs Rights to Guy Pearce-Maggie Grace Film 'Lockout'

EuropaCorp's sci-fi action film centers on a government agent who sets off to save the president's daughter from rioting convicts in an outer-space maximum-security prison.

Moving quickly to put together a slate, the new FilmDistrict has scooped up all U.S. rights to EuropaCorp's sci-fi action film Lockout, which begins filming in January.

Set in the near future, the movie stars Guy Pearce as a government agent who sets off to save the president's daughter, played by Maggie Grace, from rioting convicts in an outer-space maximum-security prison.

Peter Stomare and Tom Hollander will co-star in the feature, to be directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger from a script they co-wrote with EuropaCorp's Luc Besson, who will produce.

FilmDistrict, the new company founded by Graham King, Tim Headington and Peter Schlessel, expects to release the film in the first quarter of 2012.

"I love doing business with the guys at EuropaCorp, because they're unique as financiers, producers and distributors in their territories," said FilmDistrict CEO Schlessel, who said he had been eyeing the film in his previous post at Sony. "These guys have to eat what they kill, so that gives me a comfort level because they're more concerned about the commerciality of the movies they make than some producers."

The movie is planned as an R-rated film with what Schlessel described as "a whole lot of high-octane crazy shit." In casting Pearce, he said, EuropaCorp. is taking the same approach it used when it drafted Liam Neeson to star in Taken, taking a respected actor and turning him into an action-movie leading man.

The deal was negotiated by Schlessel and EuropaCorp. co-founder Pierre-Ange Le Pogam.

Lockout becomes the third title FilmDistrict has identified for its developing release slate.

It also has acquired Soul Surfer, which will recount how surfer Bethany Hamilton made her comeback after a shark attack, which it will release April 15.

And it has picked up Drive, directed by Nicholas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling, which it expects to release in late summer or early fall.