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Benicio Del Toro, who’ll next be seen in Oliver Stone’s drug-smuggling thriller Savages, has just signed on to a passion project from director Arnaud Desplechin. Titled Jimmy Picard, the drama focuses on the true friendship between a Native American and a French psychoanalyst that, according to Deadline, will begin shooting in Michigan next week.

Del Toro will be joined by Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and Gina McKee (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) in a subdued character study produced by Desplechin’s partner Pascal Caucheteux. As the site notes, Del Toro will play the title character, a Plains Indian and a member of the Blackfeet nation who “returns from the WWII battlefield and experiences various medical symptoms, none of which can be explained physically.” In an effort to deduce what might be plaguing him, Picard meets with Topeka, Kansas-based psychiatrist Georges Devereux (Amalric), who built his reputation working with Native Americans.

Desplechin recently helmed the excellent A Christmas Tale, and earlier maneuvered the underrated King & Queen, so the idea of him reuniting with Amalric and pitting him across from Del Toro is more than enough to get us into a theater for Jimmy Picard. The subject matter seems like it’s playing to a more mature audience. Perhaps the supporting studio will attempt to generate awards buzz (if it qualifies). As for Del Toro, in addition to Stone’s Savages, he’s also got a segment in the anthology feature 7 Days In Havana, which recently premiered at Cannes and could be available for viewing before the end of 2012.

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