Todd Field directing Universal/Cross Creek pic

“The Dark Knight Rises” star Christian Bale is in early negotiations to star in Todd Field’s “The Creed of Violence.”

Universal is set to distribute “Creed of Violence,” which is being produced and financed by Cross Creek Pictures. Writer-director Field (“Little Children”) is adapting Boston Teran’s acclaimed fifth novel, which depicts the 1910 Mexican revolution via the gun sights of an unlikely duo: small-time assassin Rawbone and John Lourdes, a young Bureau of Investigation agent. The two are forced to work together to infiltrate the Mexican criminal underground, encountering thieves, smugglers and professional killers. Bale is in the early stages of negotiating a deal to play Rawbone. It is no sure thing that a deal will close.

Cross Creek topper Brian Oliver, who is producing “Violence” with Michael De Luca (“The Social Network”), previously compared the project to Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and said that “Teran’s novel brings a unique perspective to U.S. imperialism for oil in the early 20th century.”

Producers are targeting an early 2013 start date in both the American Southwest and parts of Mexico.

Bale, who’s coming off an Oscar for his perf in Russell’s “The Fighter,” recently wrapped Scott Cooper’s Relativity pic “Out of the Furnace” and will spend the rest of 2012 filming a pair of Terrence Malick movies. “The Dark Knight Rises” has grossed over $566 million worldwide since opening on July 20. He’s repped by WME.

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