Sources close to the project say “A Most Violent Year” helmer J.C. Chandor is in early talks to direct the pic that once had Kathryn Bigelow attached to helm.
The film is set in the notorious border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where the Iguazu and Parana rivers converge — making “la triple frontera” difficult to monitor and a haven for organized crime.
Mark Boal and Bigelow serve as exec producers, with Charles Roven and Alex Gartner producing for Atlas Media. Boal also penned the script.
The deal is not yet closed, but if Chandor boards the project, the aim is for production to commence in January. Other directors being considered by the studio included Joss Whedon as well as Boal before Chandor won over execs in a meeting several weeks ago.
A star has yet to be set for the film, but insiders say Will Smith has been eyeing the project for some time.
Though sources close to the studio and Smith say the actor is not attached, several have said that the actor has also been involved in the search for a director, having suggested several candidates, including Chandor. His decision to sign on may hinge on which helmer eventually takes the job.
Smith and several other A-listers were rumored to be circling the project back in 2010 when Bigelow and Boal were meeting with actors, including everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Christian Bale. Smith, Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp all supposedly came close to signing on, but when schedules couldn’t be worked out, Boal and Bigelow moved on to focus on “Zero Dark Thirty,” and “Triple Frontier” sat in limbo.
The studio has spent the last several months looking at directors that would help secure Smith’s full attachment.
Known for character dramas like “Margin Call” and “A Most Violent Year,” the film would mark a step in a new direction for Chandor, given the action-heavy setpieces the story calls for.
Smith is repped by CAA and Overbrook while Chandor is repped by CAA. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.