Polish box office champ Patryk Vega (Pitbull, Women of Mafia) will make his English-language debut with a true-life gangster tale about Vladimir Putin’s rise to power in Russia.

The film, whose working title is The Vor in Law, a reference to a Russian mafia term akin to “the godfather,” will look at Putin from his hardscrabble beginnings in St. Petersburg “all the way to the war in Ukraine,” Vega told The Hollywood Reporter.

Many have drawn a connection between Putin’s links to organized crime in his time as mayor of St. Petersburg in the lawless period after the fall of the Soviet Union with the kleptocratic and authoritarian regime he has imposed on the entire country as president.

Vega, whose Polish films have grossed more than $100 million locally, will be fully financing the $12 million film through private equity investors. He plans to shoot The Vor in Law in Poland, Lithuania and Malta next year. Vega is looking to cast a U.S. or international star in the lead as Putin, with most of the remainder of the cast coming from Europe.

Vega has said his current film Autobiografia (Invisible War), a drama inspired by his own life, will be his last in Polish and that he will only make English-language movies in the future. Vega said he feels, despite his considerable commercial success, that he has not been properly respected in his home country. “I get bad press because I’m the king of the box office,” he said. “I can’t evolve further [in Poland]. I feel [working in English] is a natural progression in my career.”

Vega argues his experience making movies in Poland could prove an advantage in the international marketplace. “I can make a movie in 13 days for $300,000, I can make a movie on the same schedule, using the same cameras for 10 percent of an Australian budget, not even a Hollywood budget,” he said. “So I know what I can do with a $10 million budget.”

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