Christian Mercuri’s Capstone Group is on hand through next week at the American Film Market where international sales will commences on forthcoming swashbuckler, Corto Maltese, based on the work of novelist and comic book author Hugo Pratt. Christophe Gans (Beauty And The Beast, Silent Hill, Brotherhood Of The Wolf, Crying Freeman) is directing the pic from a script by William Schneider, as announced by producer Samuel Hadida who will produce via his Davis Films banner next to Spain-based TriPictures, currently setting Tom Hughes (Victoria) to star in the title role.
The swashbuckling actioner takes place at the dawn of the 20th century. Legendary adventurer Corto Maltese has been hired by a Chinese revolutionary group, The Red Lanterns, to hijack the armored train of the Russian Emperor Tsar Nicolas II that is transporting his gold from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok. Everybody is scheming to capture this priceless treasure: Corto, his partner in crime, Rasputin, The Red Lanterns, as well as the Japanese Army.
Corto Maltese is slated to begin in January 2019 with locations also slated shoot in Europe and China.
Thursday’s announcement was a robust round-up of forward-looking statements by Gans and the producers with talk of casting Michelle Yeoh and Monster Hunter actress Milla Jovovich, in addition to a possible reunion for Gans with actor Mark Dacascos whose recent weeks have seen him in Thailand shooting upcoming action thriller, The Driver, helmed by Wych Kaosayananda (Zero Tolerance, Ballistic: Ecks VS. Sever).
“Corto Maltese has been a dream project for me since I was a boy reading comics,” said Gans. “Now that I have the opportunity to bring this incredible story to the big screen, I can think of no better actor to play the adventurous Corto after meeting with Tom Hughes, whom I followed in the TV series “Victoria”, and who has emerged as one of Britain’s truly top actors. We are also discussing the inclusion of Crazy Rich Asians’ Michelle Yeoh. I met her some time ago on the project Mulan and since then I have wanted to find a great role for her and we believe this is it,” continued Gans.
“As for Corto’s sidekick, Rasputin, after an extensive search we have settled on James Thierrée to play this iconic role. Not only is he the grandson of Charlie Chaplin, he is also an incredible actor and performer who won a French César for best actor in Chocolat. He is currently playing opposite Vincent Cassel in L’Empereur de Paris,” added Hadida.
Samuel Hadida also notes, “We are assembling a brilliant and talented cast to bring Corto Maltese to life. I have known Milla Jovovich for a long time, having produced the Resident Evil films that made her a star. After meeting her with Gans, Milla immediately found her vision to play this role and we are convinced that there could be no better choice.”
Hadida went on, “Christophe and I have both worked previously with Mark *Dacascos, in Crying Freeman and Brotherhood of the Wolf, and think the world of him. He has a major role coming up opposite Keanu Reeves in John Wick 3, and we look forward to also having him join us for Corto Maltese.”
“With our goal of uniting a strong ensemble with Christophe Gans’ unique vision, we see Corto Maltese as the first film in a major franchise opportunity set to become a classic of the genre next to Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes and Pirates of the Caribbean,” concluded Hadida and Felipe Ortiz.
“I’ve known Samuel for years and he truly is one of the most skilled and passionate producers in the world,” added Capstone’s Christian Mercuri. “After reading the script last weekend and both hearing and seeing what he and Christophe have done in preparation for this massive film, I knew I had to be part of this project. With an incredibly gifted ensemble of actors planned, and Davis Films and TriPictures backing the film, there is plenty of opportunity for not only a fruitful film but a potential Corto Maltese franchise.”
The listed crew for Corto Maltese includes Academy Award winning special effects make-up artist David Martí (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army), music composer Fernando Velázquez (The Orphanage, The Impossible, A Monster Calls), cinematographer Christophe Beaucarne (Mr. Nobody, Beauty and The Beast), 3x Emmy Award winning costume designer Joan Bergin (Vikings, The Prestige), and VFX Supervisor Emilien Lazaron (Arrival, Source Code, Mr.Nobody, Beauty And The Beast). Also involved is Goya Award-winning art director for Blancanieves, production designer Alain Baînée (Leatherface, Snow White, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) whose previous collaborations include movies by Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Stonehearst Asylum).