Jean-Jacques Annaud in talks to direct film

Relativity Media has acquired the D.B. Weiss-scripted bounty hunter tale “Kashmir” and is near a deal with Jean-Jacques Annaud to direct. Shooting will begin in late spring.

Story revolves around three ex-mercenaries who stumble upon information as to where a wanted terrorist will be for a short period of time. They decide to brave a trip into the volatile region between Pakistan and India to catch the terrorist and claim the $30 million bounty on his head. Each man has a different motive for taking the dangerous journey, and their loyalties are tested when the going gets rough.

Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh will produce with David Benioff, Film 360’s Guymon Casady and Michael De Luca. Tucker Tooley, Zach Schiff-Abrams and Ben Forkner will be exec producers.

Weiss, who is currently writing a prequel to “I Am Legend” for Warner Bros., got the idea for “Kashmir” back when the U.S. was placing giant bounties on the heads of enemies and when Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay were killed in a firefight with U.S. troops.

Weiss, Benioff and Casady originally set the project at Warner Bros. De Luca came aboard as it came loose in turnaround, and Relativity bought the script and agreed to finance production.

The French-born Annaud (“The Bear,” “Seven Years in Tibet”) likes to shoot his films in authentic locations, no matter how remote. Weiss and Benioff said the director wants to lense the film as near as possible to the story’s setting.

They are also scouting Argentina, Mexico and other areas in India as alternatives.

“I just received an email from him referring to his and my upcoming trip to Pakistan, which he said is necessary to feel the fear that comes with being a Westerner and knowing that any of these unfriendly eyes might want to do something to you,” Weiss said.

De Luca just produced the Benioff scripted, Jim Sheridan-directed “Brothers” for Relativity. Weiss and Benioff are also collaborating to write an HBO series pilot adaptation of the epic fantasy novel series “A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin.

Annaud is repped by ICM, Weiss by CAA and Management 360.

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