Flicking through one of the many dailies that are a staple part of the festival, I came across the news that Variety are announcing that French heavy-weight actors Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel will team up once more for Thomas Langmann and La Petite Reine’s adaptation of the French detective novels. The production- a near m 3D project- will be directed (and co-written) by Silent Hill’s Christophe Gans, will be the thirteenth movie adaptation of the infamous French villain, a run that has included five pre-war silent films.

The franchise is well known for complex plots, usually involving how Fantomas evades capture for his various malignances, and it will no doubt provide the script-writers a great deal of substance to work with, as well as the actors and director. Fantomas is generally heralded as the bridge between traditional Gothic villains, and modern serial killers, and he is a compelling literary figure to say the least with a canon of work devoted to him.

Fantomas Poster

Vincent Cassel is set to play Fantomas, the titular sadistic sociopath, who is ruthless, merciless, and is loyal to none. He is a master of disguise, always appearing under an assumed identity, often that of a person whom he has murdered, and he makes use of bizarre and improbable techniques in his crimes, such as plague-infested rats, giant snakes, and rooms that fill with sand. Think of him as the complete antithesis of our own Mr Bond. The thought of Cassel playing with the Fantomas character is a unbelievably intriguing prospect, as he has already shown that he commands the right blend of evil and charm to make seemingly irredeemable villains sympathetic figures.

There is no concrete indication of who Reno will play, though there are possibilities. The most likely, and in line with a lot of Reno’s recent roles would be that of Juve, the French detective who is obsessed with the capture of Fantomas, which is where Id place my bet.

Cassel & Reno

The reason I believe the news warrants further exposure is that Fantomas will finally drag Reno away from some of the roles he seems to gravitate towards these days, which sorely waste his talent- chief among them the Pink Panther remakes alongside Steve Martin. Reno was incredible as Leon, and is a great talent all round, so to see him in a big budget project that pits him alongside the excellent Cassel, in a role that is surely worthy of his time and skill is an extremely exciting prospect.

Hopefully it wont be unlucky number thirteen for the Fantomas screen relationship.

The other exciting adaptation announcement from Variety is that another French talent- Marion Cotillard- will star opposite Colin Farrell in David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s fantastic Cosmopolis, which will follow his forthcoming Keira Knightly/Viggo Mortensen/Michael Fassbender led A Dangerous Method. Possibly left-field casting for Cronenberg, who you wouldnt immediately place with Farrell, but he obviously sees something in Farrell’s uncompromising style that will translate well to the DeLillo adaptation.

So that’s two adaptation announcements for the price of one. And both look fascinating.