FilmDistrict Locks In Pearce And Grace For Lock Out

Newly formed independent studio FilmDistrict has acquired US rights to the upcoming sci-fi actioner Lock Out.  The film is scheduled to begin shooting in January and stars Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace.

Described as a kind of Taken (which also starred Grace) in outer space, the film is written and produced by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) and directed by James Mather (Prey Alone) and Stephen St. Leger (Prey Alone). Pearce will play a falsely-convicted prisoner who’s offered a pardon in exchange for rescuing the president’s daughter from an Earth-orbiting space prison that has been hijacked by its inmates. Grace will play the daughter.

Besides Taken, the film’s premise also bears a more-than-passing resemblance to 1981’s Escape from New York, and 1996’s Escape from LA.  Certainly, though, Besson brings strikingly different creative sensibilities to the table compared to John Carpenter and it’s hard to imagine Pearce doing a Snake Plissken impression.

It might be more appropriate, in fact, to think of this film as The Fifth Element meets Escape from New York/LA meets Taken, with Pearce’s character having more in common with Liam Neeson’s avenging father from Taken.

FilmDistrict was formed in September by Graham King, Tim Headington and Peter Schlessel. King has produced multiple high-profile hits and Oscar winners including, The Town, Blood Diamond, The Departed, and The Aviator.

Lock Out is the fledgling studio’s third pickup. In April 2011, the studio will release Soul Surfer, a biopic about professional surfer Bethany Hamilton and her return to surfing after a shark attack.  Also releasing in 2011 is Drive, an action flick starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan.

FilmDistrict expects to release Lock Out sometime in the first quarter of 2012.