Thesp will topline Denis Villeneuve's thriller

Hugh Jackman will topline Alcon Entertainment’s thriller “Prisoners” with Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”) directing.

Project, which has been in development at Alcon since 2009, is scheduled to begin shooting early next year 2013 once Jackman completes the next “Wolverine: X-Men” for Fox. Alcon’s targeting a November 2013 release through its output deal with Warner Bros.

Script, penned by Aaron Guzikowski (“Contraband”), revolves around a small-town carpenter whose young daughter and best friend are kidnapped. After the cops fail to find them, Keller takes the law into his own hands, but in the process runs up against the big city detective assigned to the case.

Alcon toppers Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson are producing, along with 8:38 Productions’ Kira Davis and Madhouse Entertainment’s Adam Kolbrenner. Ed McDonnell and John Stark will exec produce.

“We can think of no better ‘Keller’ — an everyman who rises to an occasion most of us could not imagine possible,” Kosove and Johnson said in a statement. “Denis’s rare directing gifts are superbly matched to this material, that is both challenging and explores complex themes in a commercially appealing narrative.”

Alcon and Madhouse began working on together three years ago when they launched development on Guzikowski’s “Prisoners” script. That deal opened the way to the companies discussing an alliance of business operations, with Alcon acquiring a controlling interest in Madhouse late last year.

Jackman’s in production on Universal’s “Les Misérables,” currently shooting in the U.K. for release in December, and will next go into production on Marvel’s “The Wolverine” for Fox.

Jackman is repped by WME. Guzikowski is repped by Verve and Madhouse; Villeneuve is repped by CAA.

Scott Edel of Loeb and Loeb and Alcon’s in-house counsel David Fierson negotiated on behalf of Alcon and Jeff Frankel of the firm McKuin and Frankel and David Fox of the firm Myman, Abell, Fineman, Fox, Greenspan & Light negotiated on behalf of Guzikowski and Madhouse. Jason Sloan negotiated on behalf of Jackman.

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