In a wonderful pairing of director and star, Variety is reporting that Marion Cotillard will lead Rust and Bone, the new film from A Prophet‘s Jacques Audiard. Also set to star Celine Sallette, Matthias Schoenarts, and Bouli Lanners, this is an adaptation of a short story collection of the same name by Craig Davidson. The book is being adapted for the screen by Audiard and his Prophet co-writer, Thomas Bidegain, and the two of them will be writing what’s said to be “a mix of suspense and love.”

The original collection sounds like a grim set of tales, with me being reminded of several ensemble films from the past decade or so. (Think Crash, Babel, or — I guessCrossing Over.) I have to admit that many of those don’t strike my fancy, but the presence of Audiard is enough to sway me to the positive side. Plus, the book has received good reviews; any worries might not be so valid, is the thing.

UGC is distributing in France, but this being a French production means that any word on a U.S. release is non-existent at the moment. I basically know for a fact that it’ll come out here — plenty of independent companies will be excited to claim the film — but actual developments aren’t out there at the moment. Shooting begins this fall, which means that it could very easily hit toward the end of next year.

Strangely enough, this is one of the biggest French productions of the year with a budget of $22 million. Think about this for a second: Midnight in Paris cost around $30 million to produce, and it was seen by everybody as a “smaller” project, while Transformers: Dark of the Moon is said to have been priced at roughly $195 million, and no one blinked an eye. Oy vey.

Here’s a synopsis of the book (via Amazon):

“Calamity lurks around every corner, these stories suggest, and you never know when fate will smite you—only that it will. Davidson catapults his characters (sex addicts, fighters, gamblers and drinkers) into ingeniously grim situations that test their will. In “Rocket Ride,” a young man who loses his leg to the orca he performs with in a marine park show tries to rebuild his life, in part by attending meetings of the Unlimbited Potential support group, which is full of substance-abusing amputees who wonder if karma’s to blame for their plights. In the gruesome “A Mean Utility,” a normal-seeming couple—an ad exec and his wife, a nurse—breed and fight vicious dogs, while in the sad “On Sleepless Roads,” a repo man leaves one night’s job not with the camper he was supposed to reclaim, but with the destitute man’s hamster and guinea pig, which he brings home to his disabled wife.”

Are you a fan of Audiard’s work? How does this new film sound to you? Are you happy that the director will be working with Cotillard?

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