EXCLUSIVE: Ethan Hawke takes on lead role in thriller director has “been waiting my whole life to make”, set for Jan 2014 shoot. Salt handles sales.

Ethan Hawke, Vera Farmiga and Emmanuellle Devos have joined Ed Harris in writer-director Neil LaBute’s long-gestating thriller The Geography of Hope.

A January 2014 start date has been scheduled in Puerto Rico for the 1970’s-set crime-thriller about two small time crooks (Hawke and Harris) who are keeping a low profile in a Baja resort after a heist goes wrong.

When they meet two women holidaying together (Farmiga and Devos), sparks fly romantically but tension builds when a large amount of cash is found in their room. The discovery sets in motion a series of events that pits man against woman and friend against friend, leading to a bloody conclusion.

Producers are Stefan Nowicki and Joey Carey of Sundial Pictures, Trace Sheehan of Boomdozer Inc and Tim Harms. Susan Wrubel is executive producing with London-based The Salt Company handling international sales.

Salt’s sister production company Pimienta will provide production services in Puerto Rico, doubling for Mexico.

Director LaBute told ScreenDaily: “The Geography of Hope will be a film filled with vivid images and poetic violence. It’s about men and women - a subject that I know and love - and about goodness and badness running into each other head on.

“This is a film I’ve been waiting my whole life to make.”

Writer-director LaBute, whose credits include In the Company of Men and Nurse Betty, most recently wrote and directed Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve in Tribeca two-hander Some Velvet Morning.

His most recent play was In a Forest Dark and Deep, which played in London’s WestEnd starring Matthew Fox and Olivia Williams.

Hawke most recently appeared in Richard Linklater’s acclaimed drama Before Midnight.

Farmiga recently starred in US TV series Bates Motel while Devos starred opposite Gabriel Byrne in drama Just a Sigh.