Here’s how things work now: if you have an idea, you’d best either keep it to yourself, or just get it made immediately. Otherwise, someone will step in and do it for you. These days, it isn’t just that companies look for idea with proven audience appeal; they look for stories that other filmmakers want to make, which implies some potential audience appeal. So you want to make a Snow White movie? Then we do, too. Oz, Peter Pan, Frankenstein? All fair game. And if a recent Best Director Oscar winner wants to make a film set in the crime-ridden border intersection between, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, then someone else wants to do it, too.

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have been prepping exactly that movie, The Triple Frontier for a year, but that picture is on hold while they make a film about the hunt to kill Osama Bin Laden. Now Elite Squad director Jose Padilha is going to make Tri-Border, a film that takes place in the same region, with similar subject matter, and Gran Torino screenwriter Nick Schenk is going to write it for him.

Getting past the vague distaste at the fact that Tri-Border sounds very much like Triple Frontier, if I was going to find a director to tackle material similar to the Bigelow/Boal movie, Jose Padilha might be the first guy I’d choose. (Besides which, we don’t know when this idea came about. Maybe Jose Padilha has wanted to make it for a while? Maybe.)

THR says the film will be about “a Boston-based DEA agent who is unwillingly sent to Paraguay for having busted the son of an US senator during a drug raid. The script will explore the ins-and-outs of the different crime organizations and law enforcement agencies in the tri-border zone, as the agent strives to understand how the place works in order to capture his ticket back home, a leading drug dealer.”

The director explained how this film is different from Elite Squad:

It’s a different reality, in a totally different environment: the frontier of three countries, in which one finds many different players operating, ranging from Italian, Chinese and Serbian mafias, to Bolivian, Colombian and Brazilian drug dealers, including Lebanese smugglers suspected of helping Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as corrupted police and politicians from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

Jose Padilha also has the RoboCop remake to develop, and was just listed as a candidate for The Wolverine. So this could end up not being his next movie, and if Kathryn Bigelow gets to Triple Frontier first, it might go away entirely. He’s self-financing the research and development for this project — research is going on right now — so it might take a bit of time to come together regardless.

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