Kathryn Bigelow has begun pre-production on Iraq-set action drama TheHurt Locker, whichVoltage Pictures will commence selling at AFM next month.

The Hurt Locker follows the exploits of an elite bomb disposal unit and is basedon a screenplay Bigelow co-wrote with war reporter Mark Boal.

Greg Shapiro is producing and principal photography is set tobegin in March 2007.

"Being on the bomb squad is just about the most dangerous jobin the world these days," Bigelow, whose directing credits include PointBreak, Strange Days, andBlue Steel, said.

"The mortality rate is significantly higher than anyother combat arms branch, yet every man who does it is a volunteer. These menchoose to face incredible odds, and where other people prefer safety, theyembrace risk, and I think there's a nobility to that choice and a fascinatingpsychology underlying it."

Boal recently co-wrote the story for In The Valley Of Elah to be directed by Paul Haggis.

Voltage Pictures put together the financing for The Hurt Locker with CAA, and expects to make castingannouncements at AFM.

"Kathryn is an amazing action director and Mark's script isjust so intense," Voltage chief Nicolas Chartier said. "We'reextremely excited to handle this film"

Bigelow, Boal,and Shapiro are represented by CAA.