Actor to star in Focus Features thriller

Nicolas Cage will star in “The Vanished” for Focus Features.

Pic marks the studio helming debut of Hany Abu-Assad, the Palestinian-born director of “Paradise Now.”

Thriller, penned by Larysa Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan, concerns a father who goes in search of his college-aged American-born Muslim son, who’s missing overseas. Cage and Norm Golightly will produce through their company, Saturn Films.

Movie will be produced by Noah Rosen and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion and Tracy Seward. Production is scheduled for the spring.

Abu-Assad drew acclaim for “Paradise Now,” an Oscar-nominated 2005 film about two Palestinian youths drafted to become suicide bombers.

Cage first plans to star for director Darren Aronofsky in indie drama “The Wrestler” in January, which Saturn will also produce. He jumps right into “The Vanished” in April. Thesp most recently wrapped a remake of “Bangkok Dangerous,” as well as the sequel “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” which Disney opens Dec. 21.

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