EXCLUSIVE: FilmDistrict is closing a deal for U.S. distribution rights to Parker, the Taylor Hackford-directed thriller that will star Jason Statham. Production starts in early August. The John J. McLaughlin-scripted film is an adaptation of the Donald E. Westlake novel series, and Statham is playing a character that Mel Gibson played in the Brian Helgeland-directed Payback and Lee Marvin played in the John Boorman-directed Point Blank. Parker is a thief, but one who follows a strict moral code he’ll kill to uphold. The producers are Steven Chasman, Sidney Kimmel, Les Alexander, Jonathan Mitchell and Hackford. The film’s casting up quickly, and the movie was a prominent sales title during the Cannes Film Festival where Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer sold offshore rights and made the domestic deal. Meyer has sold most world territories. Incentive Filmed Entertainment funded the film, and produced with Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Sierra/Infinity. Sierra/Infinity and Incentive Filmed Entertainment previously teamed on Shark Night 3D, a movie that will be released in September.

FilmDistrict, the distribution company funded by Graham King and Tim Headington and run by Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney to encompass films that can play in wide release, came out of the gate with the sleeper horror hit Insidious and on Sept. 16 will bow the Ryan Gosling-starrer Drive, which played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. At that festival, FilmDistrict beat out other suitors to acquire U.S. distribution rights to the Rian Johnson-directed science fiction film Looper with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.