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Johnson boards thriller

West to direct, produce 'Protection'

Dwayne Johnson will topline indie action thriller “Protection” with Simon West on board to direct and lensing set to start this fall in New Mexico.

IM Global Founder and CEO Stuart Ford and Robert Lawrence will produce along with Gordon Gray and Mark Ciardi of Mayhem Pictures. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones will exec produce and Jib Polhemus will act as co-producer.

Project, penned by Brandon Noonan, carries a $35 million budget. Johnson will portray a mercenary Mexico City security operative forced to smuggle the daughter of a threatened high-ranking judge and the judge’s chief legal counsel across the border while being pursued by corrupt cops, drug lords and white-collar U.S. criminal forces.

Johnson recently completed filming CBS Films’ “Faster,” scheduled for release in November. West’s credits include “Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “The Mechanic” and “Strangers.”

IM Global will be selling “Protection” at Cannes.

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