New Line inks ‘Boys’ helmer

First project: Murder mystery based on true story

Writer-director Kimberly Peirce, whose feature debut “Boys Don’t Cry” won Hilary Swank an Academy Award, has signed a first-look deal with New Line Cinema.

Pact is initially for two years and includes a first project commitment: an untitled murder mystery based on a true story, the precise details of which are being kept under wraps.

Peirce did tell Daily Variety that she and writing partner Andy Bienen (who co-wrote “Boys”), have begun researching the forthcoming project at the Library of Congress and the U. of Chicago, where Peirce did her undergraduate work.

Peirce and Bienen will co-write, with Peirce helming and co-producing along with Jersey Films.

“We were drawn to Mike De Luca’s and New Line’s adventurous sprit, their incredible love of movies and their willingness to take risks,” said Peirce. “They have been totally enthusiastic about the new project and we feel we are off to a great start.”

Peirce added that De Luca is, refreshingly, someone with a great understanding of the filmmaking process.

“We are extraordinarily proud that Kim has selected New Line as her home for the next two years,” said De Luca, president and chief operating officer of New Line Prods.

“She is a uniquely talented director who has a penchant for translating fact-based events and characters to film. Her next project will be just as daring and provocative as ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ and we look forward to collaborating with her and Andy and starting production as quickly as possible.”

Outside of Swank’s Oscar, “Boys Don’t Cry” garnered a Golden Globe Award for Swank and supporting actress Oscar and Golden Globe noms for co-star Chloe Sevigny.

Pic also won Peirce such honors as the International Critics Prize in London and the International Critics prize in Stockholm; the National Board of Review’s Best Debut Director honors; Best Filmmaker from the Boston Society of Film Critics; and the Satyajit Ray Award.

Prior to making “Boys” into a feature, Peirce had directed a short-film version of the script as her Columbia U. film school thesis pic.

At New Line, Peirce’s deal will be overseen by De Luca and senior veep of production Donna Langley.

Peirce and Bienen are repped by UTA. Alan Wertheimer of Armstrong, Hirsch, Jackoway, Tyerman and Wertheimer served as Peirce’s attorney, James Adams at Schreck, Rose & Dapello Bienen’s.

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