BREAKING: Universal has reemerged as the financier of Contraband, the English language remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavic-Rotterdam. Mark Wahlberg is set to star, Kate Beckinsale is negotiating, and Baltasar Kormakur is set to direct. Kormakur starred in, produced and co-wrote the original. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Wahlberg (who’s next out in The Fighter), Stephen Levinson and Kormakur. Verve-repped Aaron Guzikowski is writing the script.

Oskar Jonasson directed the original, in which Kormakur played a former smuggler trying to go straight as a night guard. When his wife’s brother (who got him the job) botches a smuggling run, his life threatened and the protagonist is dragged in for one more job. WME, which reps the stars and Kormakur, set up the remake at Working Title. Bevan and Fellner’s deal is at Universal, and the studio originally intended to finance the film, then passed when the budget came in at $40 million. Relativity Media stepped in, but encouraged the filmmakers to try bringing down the cost. The filmmakers brought the budget down to around $30 million. A $30 million drama with Wahlberg and Beckinsale is a package any studio would jump at. When Relativity blinked, Universal swooped back in. (more…)