EXCLUSIVE: Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart are in talks to star in The Weinstein Company’s remake of French smash hit The Intouchables. Although neither deal has closed yet, Deadline understands that these talks are in the advanced stages. TWC has been working on this for some time now, having recruited Paul Feig to write the script. At various points, the likes of Colin Firth and Tom Shadyac were circling to star and direct, respectively. Deadline understands that talks are also on-going with a director, with that announcement expected imminently.
The picture has long seemed prime for remake given it was huge internationally — where it grossed $416 million — but only $10 million domestic, a strong haul for French-language film but comparatively modest for such a crowd-pleasing story. TWC released the original domestically and got remake rights as part of the bargain. Feig was once going to make it his directorial follow-up to Bridesmaids, but he left the project after writing the screenplay about an aristocrat who, after being paralyzed in a hang-gliding accident, hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker.
The original film made a superstar out of Omar Sy, who has since gone on to make English-language appearances in X-Men: Days Future Past, Jurassic World and is also starring in Ron Howard’s Inferno opposite Tom Hanks.
Cranston is coming off the back of a critically acclaimed turn as blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo in Trumbo. He has a number of films in the pipeline including Robin Swicord’s Wakefield opposite Jennifer Garner and Brad Furman’s Pablo Escobar crime pic The Infiltrator. He is repped by UTA.
Hart, doing his best to earn the title of hardest-working man in showbiz, stars opposite Dwayne Johnson in Warner Bros’ summer comedy Central Intelligence. He has also lent his voice to Illumination’s The Secret Life Of Pets and is completing feature-length stand-up pic Kevin Hart: What Now? He is also repped by UTA.
Cranston and Hart on paper look like a killer combination. What made the original so compelling was the dynamite chemistry between the big-hearted Sy and co-star Francois Cluzet. If the two English leads can come anywhere near that, then the Weinsteins look to have a box office juggernaut on their hands. This is a classic multi-quadrant comedy with emotional pull that, if played right, can appeal to audiences young and old, male and female, and of all backgrounds.
The Weinstein Co. declined to comment.