De Niro to lead Besson-directed gangster thriller.

Variety has word that Luc Besson (‘The Lady,’ ‘The Fifth Element,’ ‘Leon’) is to step behind the camera for ‘Malavita,’ a gangster thriller that has Robert De Niro attached to star.

Based on the book ‘Badfellas’ from Tonino Benacquista, the film follows De Niro as a retired American gangster living with his family under the witness protection program in Normandy.

Principal photography is set to kick off August 14th with Besson’s EuropaCorp co-producing with Relativity Media.

The official synopsis of the book:

“Under cover of darkness, an American family moves into a villa in Cholong-sur-Avre in Normandy. Fred Blake, the father, tells everyone he is there to write a history of the Allied landings. His wife Maggie gets involved in a local charity; their teenage children enrol in the Lycée. At first glance a family like any other. But Fred’s real name is Giovanni Manzoni – an ex-Mafia boss who has grassed and is now part of the FBI’s witness-protection program. And his record in other locations would indicate that his cover is not likely to last very long.”