Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal are shopping an international thriller that would likely film before the fall 2011 start of Paramount’s “Triple Frontier.” Sources said the indie project is timely, tapping into recent news events.

No script is ready yet, but the plan would be for Boal to pen the script and Bigelow to direct.

The only details to emerge are that the narrative concerns black ops and is based on a true story that has appeared in printed form.

Bigelow and Boal, who won Oscars for “The Hurt Locker,” are hunting for financing for the low-budget thriller. They were out of the country and unable to return phone calls.

Project is similar in approach to “Hurt Locker,” which cost just over $10 million, and Bigelow and Boal are accustomed to pulling together a film quickly on this budget level.

“Triple Frontier” is still on track, but since that project has many moving parts, the duo decided to do a fast indie in the interim.

In recent months, “Triple Frontier” has caught the eye of such stars as Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Will Smith.

Insiders have said Hanks is committed to the film; Depp also would like to do it, but has signed on to Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” as his next film.

“Triple Frontier” has four major roles, so doing a smaller film first will allow Bigelow and Boal to find the right fit for each role in the larger film, and allow time for negotiations and scheduling.

The new project is not likely to affect “Triple.”

The situation is similar to when Clint Eastwood had down time when “Flags of Our Fathers” was in post-production, and relatively quickly put together the modestly budgeted “Letters From Iwo Jima.”

Barry Levinson did something similar while waiting for the bigger-budget “Sphere” to begin, shooting the comedy “Wag the Dog” right before the 1998 sci-fi pic.

Bigelow is repped by CAA, Boal is repped by CAA and Management 360.