Writer-director Frank Hudec is fast assembling a crack team for upcoming art theft thriller The Sleeping Shepherd. Having already set up shop at Solution Entertainment Group, plans are in place for the film to be presented to foreign buyers at the European Film Market, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have cast Michael Pitt and Imogen Poots in leading roles.
They join a cast that already boasts Isabelle Huppert and Willem Dafoe, in what is shaping up to be a starry ensemble drama. Inspired by real events, The Sleeping Shepherd is based around infamous art thief Stéphane Breitwieser, who stormed across more than 170 European art museums in the space of six years, accruing a stash of stolen goods along the way.
With a dash of Bonnie and Clyde underpinning the story, Hannibal star Michael Pitt will step into the role of Alex, “a failed painter who decides he would rather steal great art than paint it. As he travels across Europe, he meets a bored rich girl, Karoline (Poots), who gets a sexual thrill from art theft. Their escapade is cut short when Alex’s arrogance leads to his capture. In an effort to save him, his co-dependent mother (Huppert) destroys $2 billion dollars worth of irreplaceable masterpieces by chopping them up and tossing them into the nearby Rhine Canal. Alex and his mother are sent to jail, but in a strange twist of irony, Alex’s jailhouse paintings become collector’s items.”
Breitwieser’s thieving spree lasted from the beginning of 1995 until he was apprehended six years later, so common logic would dictate that Hudec’s The Sleeping Shepherd will be rooted in a 90s setting. CAA have picked up North American rights for the crime caper.