Thesp sets Signature role

Johansson's 'Amazon' finds coin

Moshe Diamant’s Signature Pictures has made a deal to finance “Amazon,” a vehicle for Scarlett Johansson to play a gladiatrix from 200 B.C. who exacts vengeance on an army that destroyed her homeland.

Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain will pen the script.

Idea for Johansson to play an Amazon warrior came from the actress, who mentioned it to scribes Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci while they worked together on “The Island.” That duo will produce with Melanie Johansson, Gilles Arondeau and Alexandra Milchan-Lambert.

They drafted Blackman and McCain, who just wrote “Outlander,” a period Viking saga that McCain will direct for Ascendant Pictures and the Weinstein Co.; production on that project starts next June in New Zealand.

“This will be a movie that falls between ‘The Wild Bunch’ and ‘The Seventh Samurai,’ ” Blackman said.

Signature’s Diamant most recently worked with Johansson on the Brian De Palma-directed “The Black Dahlia.” “What was most special about this pitch was the idea of taking this beautiful sexy girl and putting her into this mythological setting, with a love story,” Diamant said.

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