EXCLUSIVE: A pre-Cannes domestic distribution deal was closed last night by Image Entertainment for The Double, the Hyde Park/Imagenation thriller that marked the directing debut of Michael Brandt. Brand wrote the script with Derek Haas, his writing partner on such films as Wanted and 3:10 To Yuma. The film was expected to be auctioned during the Cannes Film Festival, but WME Global’s Graham Taylor and Hyde Park’s Ashok Amritraj snuck the picture for domestic distributors Friday night. They went with Image, the recapitalized distributor that is emerging as a player in the revived independent film sector. The deal was over $2 million minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment for an October rollout. Haas produced it with Amritraj, Patrick Aiello and Andrew Deane.

Image released the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back and the Hilary Swank-starrer The Resident. The Double stars Richard Gere, Topher Grace and Martin Sheen. A retired CIA operative is paired with a young FBI agent to figure out who killed a senator. The clues indicate that he might have been a victim of a Soviet assassin. Amritraj will screen the film in Cannes. Already, Tele Munchen has bought Germany, Aurum has bought Spain and D’Al Angelo has acquired Italian rights. Brandt and Haas are repped by WME, Industry and attorney Adam Kaller.