Icon joins race for femme pic

“Braveheart” with a bra?

Icon partners Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey will team with Gavin and Greg O’Connor on “Warrior,” an epic about Boudica, a female warrior who led Britain against Roman conquerors and was posthumously named Britain’s first queen.

The writers penned the project as a spec, then hooked the O’Connor brothers. Icon exec Kevin Lake brought “Warrior” to Gibson and Davey, who are so flush with “The Passion of the Christ” cash that their Icon is in a strong position to make another period picture. The company has a first-look deal at Fox, but if Fox turns down the pic, Icon is free to shop it elsewhere.

The drama, which chronicles Boudica’s rise from peasant girl to a military leader who united the Celtic tribes of Britain to battle the 9th century Roman Empire, will be directed by Gavin O’Connor (“Miracle”). Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal wrote the script.

The protagonist, a female equivalent of William Wallace in the Icon-produced “Braveheart,” has become the most hotly fought-over historical screen figure since Alexander the Great. There are three other Boudica biopics.

Paramount and Tribeca issued their war cry last week, announcing the Boudica pic “Warrior Queen” that will be scripted by “Proof” playwright David Auburn. DreamWorks also has the Boudica pic “Queen Fury” with scribe Walon Green. A fourth project is “My Country,” which was written by Martha Little and is being shopped as a spec by Laura Bickford. That’s a surprise, considering the film will be expensive and female-driven battle pics don’t generally fare well.

To Gavin O’Connor, Boudica and the period of history she lived in makes her the exception.

“What drew me is that she was driven by personal revenge,” O’Connor said. “Her goals were never political and never went beyond avenging her slain husband and child. She managed to bring together all of these warring tribes to stand against the Roman Empire. It is a masculine story with a female point of view.”

The O’Connors, who operate under the Solaris banner are prepping the New Line pic “Pride & Glory,” a drama which will be directed by Gavin O’Connor from a script he wrote with Joe Carnahan.

Icon has the benefit of years of legwork put in by the scribes.

“We spent over a year researching Queen Boudica, Celtic Britain and the Roman Empire, and another year writing the script,” said Klugman, who with Sternthal were repped by Leverage and Endeavor, the latter of which agented the O’Connors as well.

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