Canadian actor Marc-Andre Grondin will play the lead role in L'homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs), an adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1869 novel of the same name, TheWrap has confirmed.
The movie, directed by Jean-Pierre Ameris (Romantics Anonymous), starts shooting Monday in Prague. While some of L'homme qui rit will also be shot in France, the bulk of the filming will take place in Prague.
Gerard Depardieu and Emmanuelle Seigner also star in the film, the budget of which is the U.S. equivalent of $15 million. It is distributed by EuropaCorp.
Grondin will play Gwynplaine, the laughter-prone heir to a vast fortune. The character's lanky frame and grin helped inspire the Joker, created by comic book artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger in 1940.
Grondin has additional projects in the works. He plays the all-star French-Canadian hockey player Xavier Laflamme in Goon, co-written by Evan Goldberg. The film, which also stars Seann William Scott and Liev Schreiber, will be available February 24 on video on demand in the U.S. and hit theaters March 30.
Grondin also stars in Go Films' L'affaire Dumont, to hit theaters in Canada in the fall. Directed by Podz (The Seven Days), the drama is based on a true story about a man who was wrongly accused of rape and imprisoned for five years until his wife proved his innocence and got him released from prison.