'Oliver' gets an acrobatic twist

A new film adaptation of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist which sees the orphan scale buildings and hop across the rooftops of London's most famous museums is sure to raise a few eyebrows among purists.

Sébastien Foucan, widely credited with founding the urban acrobatic pursuit of free running, is set to star in the forthcoming £5m film Twist, which starts shooting in October.

The movie's producer, Piers Tempest, claims to have reinvented the classic tale for a 21st-century audience by portraying Fagin's gang as a group of thieves who use free-running to steal art works from the capital's best known galleries. The movie is being launched at the Cannes Film Festival, which starts today.

"Sébastien invented the movement, and if you're making a free running film he's your first choice," said Tempest. "The Oliver Twist story is so iconic, but the conceit of the gang being free runners gives the heist movie format a new spin."

The film will be shot in 3D, and Foucan will also act as the film's chief technical adviser, but it is not known in which role he will appear. The film-makers hope to work at London's best-known galleries. The film will be directed by Matthew Parkhill, whose previous work includes 2003's Dot the I.

"Parkour [free running] itself is simply thrilling to watch," Parkhill said. "But the inclusion of it in this movie is so much more than a stunt, it's the very essence of the story. The parkour sequences will blow the audience away, but it is Oliver's compelling journey which will stay with them once they've left the cinema."

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