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Mideast heat wave

Scott, De Line, Ignatius team on pair of pics

A correction was made to this article on Jan. 31, 2006.

Ridley Scott, producer Donald De Line and novelist David Ignatius are teaming on a pair of thrillers set in the Middle East.

Warner Bros. has acquired “Penetration,” a spy novel by Ignatius about a CIA operative’s attempt to track a high-ranking terrorist in Jordan. The novel will be produced by De Line Pictures and Scott Free as a potential directing vehicle for Scott.

Meanwhile, Scott has agreed to helm “The Invisible World” for Paramount, based on a treatment by Ignatius that was scripted by Dana Stevens. That pic covers the abduction of a female journalist in Iraq.

Scott, who last shot “Kingdom of Heaven” in Morocco, hopes to shoot the new film there, either late this year or in early 2007. Pic is a high priority for the studio, though it will be tricky given the hot-button subject, the budget and location. Paramount’s co-presidents of production Alli Shearmur and Brad Weston are supervising.

Ignatius, currently an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post, was previously executive editor of the International Herald Tribune and China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

De Line and Scott first set up “The Invisible World” when De Line was a Par-based producer. Scott Free continued to work on it when De Line became production president at Par, and then De Line rejoined the pic as producer when he ankled that job and became a WB-based producer.

“Penetration,” which CAA began shopping late last week, revolves around a CIA operative posted in Amman, who is helped in his pursuit of the terrorist by the head of Jordan’s intelligence agency. A publishing deal for the book is expected to be completed shortly.

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