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Niccol ready for ‘War’ with Hawke, Leto

Drama being financed through foreign sales

Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan, Jeffrey Wright and Donald Sutherland have inked to appear opposite Nicolas Cage in writer-director Andrew Niccol’s $42 million “Lord of War.”

Pic starts shooting July 19 in New York, Romania and South Africa.

Niccol, who scripted “Terminal” and “The Truman Show” and wrote and directed “Gattaca” and “Simone,” has penned a drama that casts Cage as a ruthless global arms dealer trying to stay a step ahead of a relentless Interpol agent (Hawke).

Pic is a co-production of Entertainment Manufacturing Co.’s Philippe Rousselet and Niccol, and Saturn Films partners Cage and Norm Golightly with Ascendant Pictures and VIP3 Medienfonds. Joel Phiri and Jeremy Nathan are co-producing. CAA and Ascendant Pictures/VIP3 are repping pic domestically.

“Lord of War” is being financed through foreign sales, an effort spearheaded by IMG and Arclight Films. The producers haven’t set a domestic distribution deal, but one could come before production begins.

Arclight has inked 34 distribution deals in foreign territories including Gaga for Japan, M6 for France, Momentum of the U.K., Manga in Spain and Italia Intl. Entertainment.