Canal+ Teases New Audrey Diwan-Written Thriller ‘Smiling Hacker’ At Paris Event; Production Circling Tahar Rahim, Adil & Bilall

Studiocanal has boarded development on part English-language thriller Smiling Hacker which is currently being written by Audrey Diwan.

Anna Marsh, Deputy CEO of parent group Canal+ Group, teased the project at an event in Paris on Wednesday promoting the pay-TV giant’s commitment to local and international cinema and launching a new channel bannered Canal+ Box Office.

The film is loosely inspired by Algerian hacker Hamza Bendelladj, who made headlines internationally for stealing from US banks and giving the proceeds to charity, and came to be known as the “Smiling Hacker” or “Happy Hacker”.

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Marsh said talks were underway to sign The Serpent and The Mauritanian star Tahar Rahim for the lead role and Belgian Bad Boys directorial duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah to direct.

“It’s a French thriller in the English language in part. It’s written by Audrey Diwan. We’re honored and with proud to work with her,” said Marsh.

Diwan, whose star has risen following her 2021 Venice Golden Bear win for abortion drama Happening, is currently attached to a number of high-profile projects including Emmanuelle reboot, which she is writing and will direct.

“We’re in discussions with Tahar Rahim for the main role, nothing is confirmed yet, and Adil & Bilall for the directing. We will keep you posted when we have more news,” said Marsh.

The project was among a number of high-profile upcoming features involving Canal+ production and distribution arm Studiocanal evoked by Marsh at the event.

She also noted the previously announced Josephine Baker biopic by Maimouna Decouré, Jonny Campbell’s sci-fi action picture Cold Storage, which is due to begin shooting in Italy in April, and Amy Winehouse biopic Back To Black.

Marsh revealed she had been on the set of Back To Black at Ealing Studios in London this week and teased confidential images of Marisa Abela in the role of Winehouse that cannot be widely distributed as yet.

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