Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures will fully finance Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal's follow-up to "The Hurt Locker," reports Variety.
Plot details are still scarce, but with good reason. Not only is Boal still writing the screenplay, but he obtained classified information while researching the project, which is based on the true story of a U.S. military black ops mission, the ramifications of which are still being felt around the world.
The filmmakers plan to begin casting the picture in the coming weeks after scouting locations for the international thriller, which is scheduled to start this summer.
Bigelow and Boal, who each won an Oscar last year for directing and writing "The Hurt Locker," will retain and control all domestic theatrical and ancillary rights in partnership with Ellison, who is the daughter of software billionaire Larry Ellison.
Bigelow and Boal's representation at CAA negotiated the deal and will represent any domestic distribution deal, though no distributor has been approached … yet. However, don't be surprised if Summit or Paramount acquire it after one of those famous Hollywood bidding wars that seem to happen several times a year.
Expect every studio to be chomping at the bit for this project, especially now that scheduling issues have made it the duo's follow-up to "The Hurt Locker" instead of Paramount's "Triple Frontier," which is looking to wrangle an all-star cast to surround Tom Hanks this fall.
Stuart Ford's IM Global and Automatik will represent the secretive, smaller-scaled project internationally.
Ellison recently exec produced Paramount's "True Grit" and her company Annapurna will also finance and produce "The Wettest County" John Hillcost's prohibition-era drama starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy.