Trio just wants to be 'Nice'

Rhys Ifans, Chloe Sevigny, David Thewlis circle project

NEW YORK -- The true story of international drug dealer and U.K. spy Howard Marks is aiming to give moviegoers a buzz.

Rhys Ifans, Chloe Sevigny and David Thewlis are in final negotiations to star in "Mr. Nice," writer-director Bernard Rose's adaptation of Marks' 2002 best-selling autobiography.

Ifans will play Britain's one-time most-wanted man, a late-'60s-era Oxford grad and teacher who turned to drug smuggling to impress his future wife Judy (Sevigny). While enlisting the help of an Irish Republican Army boss (Thewlis) for a job, he was recruited by a British intelligence officer for a loose network of informants.

The charming criminal assumed the alias Mr. Nice. After encounters with the Mafia and CIA and nearly 30 tons of pot smuggling, he spent seven years in prison.

U.K.-based Independent is producing the film and repping international sales. CEO Luc Roeg is producing, and execs Michael Robinson and Andrew Orr are exec producing. Spain-based KanZaman's Denise O'Dell and Mark Albela also are producing.

Ifans is repped by UTA/ITG and Brillstein.

Sevigny is with Endeavor/Brillstein.

Thewlis is repped by Endeavor and Julian Belfrage Associates.

Rose is with Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.