Steven Kaplan, Gregg Daniel and Richard Katz's fledgling LA-based production company Rainstorm Entertainment is teaming up with Volker Engel and Marc Weigert's Uncharted Territory on the second world war drama Juggernaut.

The film concerns the fate of two brothers and is set in the North African desert as the Allies battle Rommel's fearsome Panzer divisions. Production is due to begin in early 2004.

Bringing special effects experts Engel and Weigert into the partnership will be a particular source of pride for Rainstorm. Engel was part of the four-man team that won the visual effects Oscar for Independence Day in 1997.

"We want to create a large scale epic in the tradition of classic battle films such as Patton and Bridge On The River Kwai," Daniel said in a statement.

"In order to give today's sophisticated audiences that kind of experience, we needed to partner with a company that has proven that they have the ability to deliver visual effects on that scale."

The project will be based on a screenplay by Steve Anderson, who has agreed to write three projects for Rainstorm.

Anderson recently wrote and directed the Rainstorm/Echo Lake Productions comedy The Big Empty, which stars Sean Bean, Jon Favreau and Melora Waters and is being represented at Cannes by Aura Entertainment.

Other Rainstorm projects in development include All American Dad, a road comedy from debutant director Craig Moss; and Better Living Through Chaos (formerly Lost In the Translation), Jeff Lenick's dark comedy about a suicidal woman's epiphany.