The producers of the Australian/UK co-production The Boys are Back in Town are in negotiations to pre-sell US rightsto Miramax on the project, which is Australian director Scott Hicks' first film shot in Australia since hit Shine.

Australian producer Tim White, of Southern Light Films, would not comment when contacted by but other sources close to the production have confirmed the deal is in the works. It is very rare for an Australian independent film to sell US distribution rights to a major studio player at script stage.

The drama is adapted by Allan Cubitt from UK author Simon Carr's memoir of the same name. The UK producer is Greg Brenman from Tiger Aspect Pictures.

The film will star Clive Owen as a sports writer who, in tragic circumstances, becomes the single parent of two boys from different marriages.

The Boys are Back in Town will be predominantly filmed in Australia from early next year, with a small component in the UK. It won investment approval from Film Finance Corporation Australia late last year. At that time others on board included BBC Films (UK), Dea Planeta (Spain) and Hopscotch (Australia). Capitol Films is handling international sales.

All three of the films that Hicks has made in the 10 years since Shine -- Snow Falling on Cedars, Hearts in Atlantis and, most recently, No Reservations, were filmed in North America and post produced back in his home town of Adelaide in South Australia. Hicks is currently in Spain working on a commercial.