Steven Soderbergh will direct and produce the female spy action project Knockout for Relativity Media and has opted to forgo his upfront salary and jointly own the film with Relativity.

Ryan Kavanaugh of Relativity Media will produce alongside Soderbergh and his producing partner Gregory Jacobs. Production is scheduled to begin in February 2010.

Lem Dobbs will write the screenplay and previously collaborated with Soderbergh on The Limey. Relativity’s Tucker Tooley will serve as executive producer.

According to the producers, Knockout will be in the vein of The Bourne Identity. Mixed martial arts poster girl Gina Carano is in talks to join the cast.

Kavanaugh said the project was in the director’s “sweet spot”. Soderbergh’s credits include Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13 as well as crime caper The Informant! starring Matt Damon that is scheduled to premiere in Venice on September 7 and will open through Warner Bros on September 18.

“Steven’s deal is structured to help control the budget and align the film-maker and studio to play for the upside,” Kavanaugh said. “As Steven is sure to make a movie that delivers, we all succeed. More and more film-makers understand this model, which perfectly pairs our mutual interest. This is the future.”