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Mark Wahlberg, Marion Cotillard & Zoe Saldana Eye Guillaume Canet/James Gray Project ‘Blood Ties’

Mark Wahlberg, Marion Cotillard & Zoe Saldana Eye Guillaume Canet/James Gray Project 'Blood Ties'

James Gray’s ‘Low Life’ With Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner & Marion Cotillard Aims To Start Shooting In January 2012

Given the Hollywood-friendly slickness of his directorial efforts to date, it was only a matter of time before French actor Guillaume Canet made a film in the U.S. The star of “The Beach” and “Love Me If You Dare,” among many others, stepped behind the camera to much acclaim with 2002’s Cesar-nominated “Mon Idole,” the 2007 thriller “Tell No One” (which Ben Affleck is planning to remake), and followed it up with 2010’s “Little White Lies,” all of which showed an international sensibility.

As revealed a while back, Canet’s been working on his English-language directorial debut, a remake a of the 2008 thriller “Les Liens Du Sang,” in which he starred, a 70s-set drama about two brothers, one a cop, the other a criminal fresh out of the joint. Canet’s been working on the script with “The Yards” and “We Own The Night” helmer James Gray, and according to Screen Daily, it seems that a cast is starting to come together.

Sales company Wild Bunch are close to coming on to rep Canet’s project, and it’s said that Mark Wahlberg (who worked with Gray on both “The Yards” and “We Own The Night”) is circling the role of one of the brothers, with Cotillard and “Avatar” lead Zoe Saldana also linked to the film — Cotillard, of course, being Canet’s partner, and therefore something of a no-brainer. Screen Daily say that it’s unclear if Canet will again star in the film, but we imagine that, if Wahlberg’s playing one brother, it’s unlikely, unless the director’s got a doozy of an American accent up his sleeve, although it’s possible he might take a smaller role, as originally hinted. Which means that, assuming all the linked cast members sign on, there’s still one big part to cast, and we imagine the talent will be lining up, considering the caliber of names already involved.

Wild Bunch are also backing Gray’s next pictureLow Life” (although Screen Daily say that it’s now untitled), a grim period drama starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard, Gray’s film is gearing up to shoot in January (with “Se7en” and “Midnight in Paris” lenser Darius Khondji as DoP, excitingly), so if Cotillard remains involved with both, it’ll presumably be some time afterward that Canet gets rolling on “Blood Ties” (it’s worth noting that Saldana is committed to a “Star Trek” sequel next year, so scheduling may prove to be a problem there).

Still, it all sounds pretty promising, and we look forward to hearing more as these both develop. Watch the trailer for “Les Liens Du Sang” below:

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