Superstar-in-waiting Josh Hartnett has signed to two new films from FilmEngine, the production and finance outfit set up by AJ Dix, Anthony Rhulen and Bill Shively, which made previous Hartnett-starrer O.

He will star and co-produce action/adventure Wish You Were Here and has joined Johnny Depp, Nick Nolte and Benicio Del Toro in the cast of The Rum Diary adapted from the novel by Hunter S Thompson. Kathy Morgan International (KMI) is handling international sales on the films.

Wish You Were Here, which was written by Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring, is the story of four friends who attempt to smuggle a priceless fortune out of Morocco. FilmEngine and BenderSpink will produce the film alongside Hartnett, Gudegast and Scheuring. Offers are currently out to directors.

Meanwhile The Rum Diary has been set for an early spring 2003 start date in Puerto Rico and is currently being scripted by Michael Thomas. Thompson and Depp are executive producing with Nolte and Shively; Greg Shapiro of Nolte's Kingsgate Films will produce along with Rhulen and Robert S Kravis."FilmEngine is a great company," said Hartnett. "I am excited to be working with them again, having worked with them previously on O. I am confident I will be seeing a lot of these guys in the future."

FilmEngine is currently in production on The Butterfly Effect, a thriller written and directed by Eric Bress and Jon Gruber and starring Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz and Melora Walters. New Line has domestic rights. KMI is again selling The Butterfly Effect.