Jose Padilha and his Elite Squad screenwriter Braulio Mantovani are teaming up on the action thriller Agent In Place for Lionsgate.

The project is based on an upcoming video game created by Flint Dille and co-developed with Union Entertainment, from whom Lionsgate acquired worldwide film rights.

Lionsgate’s production chief Alli Shearmur developed the project as an independent producer before joining the company and will produce with Union Entertainment president Richard Leibowitz.

Talks are underway with Stars Road Entertainment to come aboard as producer on the character-driven story, which it is understood will be in the vein of North By Northwest, Frantic and Touch Of Evil

Dille and Union’s Dan Jevons will serve as executive producers and Shearmur will oversee production with Lionsgate’s senior vice-president of motion picture production Jim Miller.

Padilha won the Berlin Golden Bear in 2008 for Elite Squad and also directed Bus 174, while Mantovani earned an Oscar nomination in 2004 for his adapted screenplay for City Of God.

Shearmur described Padilha and Mantovani as “a dream team” who had “injected fresh energy, grit and insight into stories of ordinary human beings caught up in dangerous and desperate criminal situations.”

Dille’s video game credits include Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay and Dead To Rights. Union Entertainment developed the hit video game The Darkness and their properties Zero-G and Blacklight have recently been set up at Fox.

Lionsgate’s executive vice-president of business & legal affairs Robert Melnik negotiated the deal with David Kopple of The Gersh Agency and Sue Bodine of Cowan Debaets Abrahams & Sheppard on behalf of Padilha, as well as CAA and Robert Offer of Sloane, Offer, Weber, And Dern on behalf of Mantovani.

John LaViolette of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthall, LaViolette, And Feldman represented Union Entertainment and La Violette and colleague Richard Thompson represented Dille.