Thesp joins Hugh Jackman in kidnapping drama

Melissa Leo will join Hugh Jackman in Alcon Entertainment’s thriller “Prisoners,” to be directed by Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”).

Production is scheduled to begin early next year with Alcon targeting a fall 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, he 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 exec produce.

Alcon and Madhouse began working 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.

Leo will next be seen in the upcoming drama “Flight,” directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Denzel Washington, and she just wrapped filming on “Oblivion” starring opposite Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman.

Leo is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

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