Danish helmer Michael Noer is attached to direct the film. The original pic centers on Henri “Papillon” Charriere (played by McQueen), who is unjustly convicted of murder in 1930s France and condemned to life in a notorious island prison. En route, Papillon meets a quirky convicted counterfeiter named Louis Dega (played in the original film by Dustin Hoffman). In exchange for protection, Dega agrees to finance Papillon’s prison escape, ultimately resulting in a lasting friendship.
Hunnam will portray the character played by McQueen, while Malek will take on the role played by Hoffman.
Aaron Guzikowski, who wrote the Denis Villeneuve-directed thriller Prisoners, penned the new script.
The film is being produced by Red Granite’s Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland along with Ram Bergman and Roger Corbi. While Red Granite is currently engulfed in a major embezzlement scandal alleged to involve billions of dollars, the U.S. Department of Justice decided to allow the banner to operate as usual during the federal investigation into its connection to an alleged Malaysian money-laundering scheme, stating that the focus of the investigation would be on The Wolf of Wall Street, and not the company’s other films, including Papillon. A representative confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the company was planning on moving forward with Papillon, with shooting planned for September.
Malek is the breakout star of USA’s hacker series Mr. Robot, which premiered its second season in July. His film credits include Need for Speed, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. He is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment and Loeb & Loeb.