‘Hurt Locker’ pair nab pic financing

Annapurna Pictures to fully finance untitled black ops drama

The next film from “The Hurt Locker” duo of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal will be fully financed by Annapurna Pictures, the Los Angeles-based shingle headed by Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle Corp. software billionaire Larry Ellison.

Annapurna has greenlit the project to start production in early summer, with Bigelow helming and Boal penning the script (Daily Variety, Dec. 6).

Project is based on the true story of a U.S. military black ops mission, the ramifications of which are still being felt around the world. The film took shape after Boal obtained classified information while researching the project. Locations are being scouted, and casting will begin in the coming weeks while Boal finishes the script.

Bigelow and Boal, in partnership with Megan Ellison, retain and control all domestic theatrical and ancillary rights. IM Global had been in talks to rep the pic internationally but as of Thursday no deal had been reached. No distrib has been approached.”This is an exciting, involving story in the tradition of the best film thrillers,” Ellison said. “That it is fact-based makes it all the more relevant and fascinating for a worldwide audience.”

CAA, which represents Bigelow and Boal and negotiated the deal, will rep the pic in any domestic distribution deal.

It was previously reported that the film would be taken out for foreign pre-sales at the Berlin Film Festival, but with Annapurna onboard to finance, that seems unlikely.

After winning Oscars last year for “Hurt Locker,” Bigelow and Boal had eyed “Triple Frontier,” a big-budget Paramount film, as their next project.

Script became a hot property, piquing the interest of thesps including Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Will Smith.

But due to scheduling conflicts, Bigelow and Boal decided to shoot the smaller-scale film first.

Ellison and Annapurna have also raised their profile of late. Besides being the prime financier on the untitled Bigelow-Boal pic, Ellison and Annapurna will finance and produce John Hillcoat’s “The Wettest County,” a Prohibition-era pic to star Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf.

Ellison was also an exec producer on “True Grit,” which was financed by her brother David Ellison’s company, Skydance Prods.

Besides “True Grit,” Megan Ellison also has producing credits on “Passion Play” and “Main Street,” mid-budget films still seeking U.S. distribution. Annapurna filed for LLC status in October 2007.

David Ellison launched Skydance in 2004. Last year, shingle cut a four-year, $350 million financing deal with Paramount.

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