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Studios seek to snag Swedish sizzler 'Snabba'

March 25, 2010 |  7:53 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Unless you're a particularly voracious cineaste, you've probably never heard of "Snabba Cash," a piece of Stockholm-set, Swedish-language noir that was all the rage at the Berlin Film Festival this year (although it is fun to say the title aloud). 

Snabba But the movie created a stir there, first launching a feeding frenzy among Hollywood talent agencies and management companies to sign director Daniel Espinosa, with UTA and Magnolia Entertainment winning the battle, and then creating an almost equally intense bidding war among several studios to land remake rights.

Now, the remake race appears to be nearing its conclusion, with Warner Bros. in the lead position to land English-language rights. The studio is eyeing the project as a potential producing and starring vehicle for Zac Efron, who recently signed an overall deal with the studio.

No remake deal is in place yet, but the film's Swedish producers are set to fly to the U.S., and negotiating wrinkles could be worked out over the coming days between the studio and Hollywood attorney Linda Lichter, who is representing the rights.

The movie, whose title translates as "Fast Cash" and which is based on Jens Lapidus' bestselling novel (in Sweden), tells an overlapping story of gangsters and other colorful miscreants. The main character, nicknamed JW (Joel Kinnaman) is a young man who leads a double life as an ordinary taxi driver and a runner for a coke dealer.

Until recently, Swedish crime fiction isn't a genre that's generated much awareness stateside. But with Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" becoming a bestseller, and a global blockbuster movie based on the book just now a limited release here, that's starting to change -- almost as fast, perhaps, as you can say "Snabba Cash."

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: A poster for "Snabba Cash." Credit: Tre Vanner Productions