Prolific RatPac producer Brett Ratner is stepping back into the director role for the Ben Kopit script The Libertine. The true story surrounding the French diplomat Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal will star Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard. Warner Bros. currently has rights to the project, but will be shopping the project this week at Cannes.
The story will retell the real-life sexual harassment case centering on Strauss-Kahn who was placed on house arrest in NYC awaiting the trial for which he was accused of assaulting a hotel maid. The case fell apart and was eventually settled out of court when the maid’s credibility and lack of physical evidence was questioned. The incident did lead Strauss-Kahn to resign his post as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to Deadline, the tone of the film will combine Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff with The Wolf of Wall Street.
The title The Libertine may not stick as Depp has previously released a film with the same name. This will be a reunion for Depp and Cotillard after 2009’s Public Enemies. This will be Ratner’s first directorial outing with either actor. Known for such films as Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand, or Tower Heist, Ratner has taken more of a background role as of late, producing major films for Warner Bros. like The Revenant, Truth, and the Depp-starrer Black Mass. In regard to his return to directing, Ratner commented:
I read all the scripts, usually when the movies are ready to be green-lit, and this was the one where I said, ‘My god, I wish I was directing this,’” Ratner says. “The whole movie takes place in one location and I’ve never done that before. It’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. People are surprised, because I’ve always been a commercial filmmaker, and this is a much smaller movie. I waited for something to come along where I could say to Kevin Tsujihara, ‘Kevin, this is the one I want to direct.’
Depp will soon be seen in theaters in Alice Through the Looking Glass followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales. He is also featured in the Kevin Smith Sundance indie Yoga Hosers along with his daughter Lily Rose Depp and will soon be starring in the Invisible Man reboot. Coming soon for Cotillard is Xavier Dolan‘s It’s Only the End of the World, the video-game adaptation Assassin’s Creed, and her husband Guillaume Canet’s Rock’n Roll.