LOS ANGELES — French filmmaker Luc Besson is working on a pilot for a proposed police drama starring the Oscar-winning actor Jean Dujardin, a source at US television network ABC told AFP on Wednesday.

The French Detective would be adapted from James Patterson’s novels about the Parisian detective Luc Moncrief, who moves to New York and joins the police department there to escape his dark past.

The first US television role for Dujardin, who won best actor for his work on the silent movie The Artist (2011), would follow Moncrief as he and his female colleague hunt the perpetrators of various complex crimes.

It would also be the first TV series directed by Besson, the French filmmaker best known among the American public for his films Nikita, The Fifth Element, and Leon: The Professional.

Meanwhile, Amazon said Monday it had acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment.

Set in Middle Earth, the adaptation will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, the Internet streamer said, adding that the deal included a potential additional spin-off series.

The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at Amazon Studios.

The Tolkien Estate had also approached Netflix and HBO, according to Hollywood entertainment Web site Deadline, which reported the deal came with an eye-watering upfront rights payment of around $200 million.

The production budget will likely add another $100-$150 million a season — but Amazon is seen as having deep pockets, as chairman Jeff Bezos has challenged his creative teams to come up with a prestigious fantasy series to rival Game Of Thrones.

Amazon said the series would be available via the Prime Video app or online in more than 200 countries and territories, but it did not announce a release date.

“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings,” said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. — AFP