Iraq vet story produced, co-financed through Darko Entertainment

Richard Kelly will next write and helm the contemporary thriller “Corpus Christi,” a departure into a more traditional narrative for the “Donnie Darko” director.

Kelly and Sean McKittrick will produce through their Darko Entertainment banner, along with Eli Roth, who has known the Darko duo since his “Cabin Fever” days.

Texas-set story concerns a mentally unstable Iraq war veteran, who forges a strange friendship with his boss, a wealthy and politically ambitious owner of a supermarket chain.

Darko will co-finance and produce the film, which has several potential co-investors circling. CAA is handling the packaging and sales of the project, which is set to start production on location in July.

Casting is under way, with an announcement expected before the end of March.

Kelly previously wrote and directed “Southland Tales” and “The Box.” “Corpus Christi” follows a traditional (for Kelly, anyway) narrative and will be his first film without heavy sci-fi or metaphysical elements.

Darko Entertainment, which Kelly and McKittrick launched in 2007 along with financier Ted Hamm, is behind Lionsgate’s upcoming adaptation of the buzzed-about literary mash-up “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

Kelly and Darko are repped by CAA, while Jennifer Davisson Killoran also manages the filmmaker.

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