EXCLUSIVE: Mr. Robot star Rami Malek is negotiating to star with Charlie Hunnam in Papillon, a remake of the classic 1973 film. Hunnam will play the role originated by Steve McQueen, and Malek is in talks to play the Dustin Hoffman role. The film will shoot in September, directed by Michael Noer (Northwest) from a script by Prisoners writer Aaron Guzikowski. The picture is backed by Red Granite, and Joey McFarland, Riza Aziz, David Koplan, Ram Bergman and Roger Corbi are producing.
The film is a contemporary retelling of the original, which was based on the memoirs of convicted felon and fugitive Henri Charriere. He was a petty criminal from the Parisian underworld who was unjustly convicted of murder in 1930s France. He staged an epic escape from Devil’s Island, a notorious penal colony in French Guiana in South America, aided by quirky counterfeiter Louis Dega. That’s the role Malek will play. Their relationship starts with Charriere providing protection for Dega from fellow thug inmates and grows into a bond, then Degas agrees to finance Papillon’s prison escape.
The picture surfaced back at Cannes, with CAA selling domestic and Red Granite International’s Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri selling foreign for a shoot that will take place in Belgrade, Montenegro and Thailand. Dimbort and Mercuri are exec producing with Kevan Van Thompson, Yan-Fischer-Romanovsky, Joshua D. Mauer, Terrence Chang and Martin Hellstern.
WME and Brillstein rep Malek, who won a Critics’ Choice Award for his work as Elliot Alderson on Mr. Robot. His film credits include Night at the Museum, The Master and Need for Speed.