EXCLUSIVE: Luc Besson built his EuropaCorp action formula by hatching great plots and then finding a repertory of good actors who can translate to action stars, such as Liam Neeson, Jason Statham and most recently Scarlett Johansson. Now that he and partner Christophe Lambert are moving that formula to fill their own pipeline with their Red distribution label, they need new blood and have found some. They’ve just set Sullivan Stapleton, the Aussie star of 300: Rise Of An Empire and the Cinemax series Strike Back, to star in The Lake, an action thriller that Besson wrote with The Equalizer scribe Richard Wenk, with Steven Quale (Into The Storm) directing.

sullyHe heads the cast in a thriller about a group of Navy SEALs who attempt to solve a long-forgotten mystery while they uncover an immense treasure hidden in a lake in war-torn Serbia. Shooting begins in April, and Stapleton’s deal was made by his WME and United Management reps.

EuropaCorp, coming off the success of Taken 3 and Lucy that were distributed by other studios, adds this to their first homegrown slate that includes the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed Nine Lives starring Kevin Spacey, the franchise reboot The Transporter Legacy and the Naomi Watts-starrer Shut In.

Stapleton just signed to star in the Greg Berlanti series Blindspot from NBC and Warner Bros TV.