Thomas Langmann's La Petite Reine is fast-tracking Fantomas, a big-screen makeover of the French fantasy detective novels, Variety reported. The budget looks set for 45 million-50 million euros ($60 million-$70 million).
Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf) is writing the screenplay with David Martinez from an original story by Langmann. Gans also will direct. (This throws into question whether Gans will be able to helm Conan, as rumored by C.H.U.D.)
The 43 Fantomas novels, written by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre and first published in 1911, 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 small-screen and comic-book adaptations.
Influenced by The Dark Knight, Gans' adaptation sees Fantomas facing off with a villain of equal or even more dastardly dimensions. The movie will shoot in French and English, and begin casting shortly.