Producers team for 'Papillon' redo

No screenwriter or director is attached


New Spanish production shingle Atlantia Canarias is teaming with L.A. producers Branko Lustig and John Kelly.

The producers aim to finance the remake for the most part via tax-driven investments from Spain's Canary Islands.

Headed by screenwriter-producer Vicente Mora and Catalan producer Roger Corbi, Atlantia closed a deal a few weeks back to option movie and TV rights to Henri Charriere's autobiography, immortalized in the 1973 film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Roger Corbi's father, DrimTim topper Manuel Corbi, will produce.

Currently in the earliest stage of development, with no screenwriter or director attached, "Papillon" will shoot in English on a budget of about $90 million, Lustig said.

Roger Corbi added that 90% of the shoot, skedded for September 2009, will take place in the Canary Islands.

According to Lustig and Roger Corbi, the bulk of pic's financing has already been tapped from Canary Islands-based high net-worth individuals using the Canary Islands' RIC (Reservation of Canaries Investment) tax investment vehicle.

Under the RIC system, taxpayers may earmark part of their payments for film and TV investment, recouping before projects' producers.

To access RIC coin, at least 75% of a film's shoot must take place on the Canary Islands.

"RIC currently has accumulated up to $6 billion in tax payments to go into film and TV or other sectors," Corbi said.

Atlantia Canarias was launched in May in a presentation supported by the Canary Islands government.

Atlantia is also collaborating with the government in the construction of Atlantia Studios, a soundstage complex on the island of Tenerife, using government-ceded lands.

Studios will have two large, split-able soundstages, Lustig said.

Robert Downey Jnr tipped to star in Papillon remake

Hollywood is to remake Papillon, the classic 1973 prison-break film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman as inmates of a desert island colony.

 From the site

The modern-day version of the hit movie is being developed by Branko Lustig, the Los Angeles producer behind such films as Schindler's List and Gladiator,

The original film followed the real-life story of Henri "Papillon" Charriere, played by McQueen, who was condemned to life in a penal colony in French Guiana.

Nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe, it follows McQueen's character as he tries to escape the compound with fellow inmate Louis Dega, played by Hoffman.

The film has been held up as the definitive prison break film, providing the inspiration for a string of movies, including The Shawshank Redemption starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

It is not yet known who will play the lead roles in the Hollywood remake, but industry experts believe that Robert Downey Jnr and Philip Seymour Hoffman could be in the running.

Nick James, the editor of Sight and Sound magazine, said: Steve McQueen was in many ways the old fashioned action star, who was macho but cool, the kind of male star we don't really have any more, even though Brad Pitt tried to be a bit like McQueen.

"I could see Robert Downey Jnr playing the lead, he has a comical edge but he is cool too, and he has a dark side which he can exploit. With Dustin Hoffman's part, you need someone with the ability to be a chameleon, such as Philip Seymour Hoffman."