Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will star together in the crime thriller Righteous Kill, a $60m production that signals Millennium Films and Emmett/Furla Films' most grandiose project to date.

Jon Avnet will begin a two-month shoot in August in Connecticut on the story, which pairs the iconic stars as detectives on the trail of a serial killer. Russell Gewirtz (The Inside Man) wrote the screenplay.

'This is an event,' Millennium co-head Avi Lerner said, adding that domestic buyers were already circling. 'We believe the world deserves independent projects like this.'

'This was one of the hardest deals we've ever done together,' Randell Emmett said. 'But when we realised we had a chance to get them together we leapt at it.'

Millennium's Lonnie Ramati negotiated with CAA on behalf of De Niro, Pacino, Avnet and Gewirtz in a deal that closed in the early hours yesterday [May 17].

Lerner and Emmett will produce with George Furla, Boaz Davidson, Alexandra Milchan, and Avnet. Lerner's Millennium partner Danny Dimbort and Trevor short will serve as executive producers.

Lerner added that Connecticut's aggressive tax breaks made it an attractive location. The story will take place in New York City and marks the first time De Niro and Pacino will share so much screen time together.

They famously shared a scene together in Michael Mann's 1995 crime thriller Heat, and both appeared in but did not share screen time in The Godfather: Part II.