EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has scored the first major acquisition of the Cannes Film Festival, before anybody has gotten on a plane. The studio is closing a deal for U.S. rights to How To Catch A Monster, the film that is shooting now. Writer-director Ryan Gosling‘s film stars Saoirse Ronan, Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, Matt Smith Ben Mendelsohn and Rob Zabrecky. The studio is paying a $3 million minimum guarantee for the film, a fantasy thriller in which a single mother is swept into a dark underworld, while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town. Marc Platt is the primary producer on the film.

The film is being financed and produced by Bold Films, and Sierra/Affinity (which also is selling Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler on the Croisette with Jake Gyllenhaal starring) will sell Gosling’s film overseas. Having a major distributor like Warner Bros in place should make that effort much easier. Gosling has starred for the studio in Gangster Squad and Crazy, Stupid, Love, and it sounds here like Warner Bros is betting on him as a filmmaker as well. The deal’s being made by WME Global head Graham Taylor, who was out of the country and couldn’t be reached.