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Billy Ray to Write & Direct WB’s Remake of ‘Secret in Their Eyes’

Mark Johnson will produce the project, which original director Juan Jose Campanella will exec produce with John Ufland

One day after Deal Central suggested that Billy Ray write the Google movie for Groundswell Productions, the acclaimed filmmaker behind "Shattered Glass" and "Breach" has signed on to write and direct an English-language remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian thriller "The Secret in Their Eyes," Ray's representation at CAA has confirmed to TheWrap.

Warner Bros. is in final negotiations to acquire the remake rights to Juan Jose Campanella's murder mystery, which has grossed $6.3 million in the U.S. since its April release.

Mark Johnson will produce the U.S.-set remake, while Campanella will exec produce with his manager John Ufland, who brought the project to Johnson and Ray several months ago.

"El secreto de sus ojos" followed a retired investigator who decides to write a novel in an effort to gain closure on a brutal unsolved crime that has haunted him for 25 years. In the process, he re-encounters a female judge who he pined for as a young man.

The story is told primarily in flashback, with much of the action taking place in 1974 against the backdrop of Argentina's military-led government. The filmmakers reportedly haven't decided yet whether to find American parallels or place less emphasis on the political elements of the story.

The project continues Hollywood's fascination with remaking acclaimed foreign films for American audiences, which have come with mixed results. While "The Departed" won Best Picture in 2006, Overture's "Let Me In" flopped at the box office last weekend, and an adaptation of the French thriller "Tell No One" has struggled to get off the ground. Sometimes the original filmmaker chooses to direct the remake, such as George Sluizer with "The Vanishing" and Takashi Shimizu with "The Grudge," but it's unclear whether Campanella was afforded that opportunity, or if he preferred to leave the project in the past and move forward with new material.

Ray recently rewrote "The Hunger Games" for Lionsgate, and he's also writing the "24" movie for Fox and a script about the 2009 Somali pirate incident for producer Michael De Luca and Columbia. Additionally, Ray had a hand in Duncan Jones' upcoming "Source Code," as well as Kevin Macdonald's 2009 thriller "State of Play." He is represented by CAA and Management 360.

The L.A. Times first reported Ray's involvement with the remake.