Patrick S. Duncan has landed $1 million against $2 million from 20th Century Fox for his spec script “Courage Under Fire,” marking one of the most lucrative deals the studio has made with a screenwriter, sources said.

The purchase was made for Laura Ziskin’s 4-month-old newly named production unit Fox 2000. The division – expected to churn out eight to 12 movies annually – has been in a high-gear buying mode since its inception.

“This is a start-up company and my mandate is to make movies,” Ziskin said late Friday. “Everything is on a fast track and I’m not buying anything I don’t intend to make.”

Sources said Denzel Washington has expressed interest in starring as the angst-ridden soldier who resigns in disgrace and is given one final mission. He finds redemption during the assignment – a quest in which he is to determine the validity of posthumously awarding the Medal of Honor to the first woman killed in battle.

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