Christophe Gans Writing and Directing Fantomas

I don’t dabble much in French cinema, except for the occasional action movie like “The Nest”, “The Empire of the Wolves”, etc, but this certainly sounds like something that could break big: Christophe Gans, of “Silent Hill” and “Crying Freeman” fame, will be writing and directing a big-screen adaptation of “Fantomas”, based on the series of popular French novels. The film, says the movie’s producer, will be heavily influenced by Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”.

So what’s it all about? I haven’t an idea, but luckily Variety has done all the legwork:

Written by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre, and first published in 1911, the 43 “Fantomas” novels follow Fantomas, an ingenious but amoral master of disguise and sadistic killer. The literary franchise is also a Gallic national crime fiction treasure, having yielded multiple big- and smallscreen and comic-book adaptations.

Influenced by “The Dark Knight,” Langmann said, Gans’ adaptation sees Fantomas facing off with a villain of equal or even more dastardly dimensions.

Thomas Langmann says the film is expected to shoot either late this year or early 2010 with an impressive $60 million – $70 million budget. That’s gotta be some kind of record for a French film, right? If not, it must be pretty close.

The movie will be shot in French and English, and casting is expected to start shortly.

Below: Gans’ version, one presumes, will be less goofy.