Korea’s CJ E&M Pictures and Grapevine Entertainment have attached Rob Cohen to direct $100m war epic 1950, described as the biggest-budget project ever undertaken by the Korean film industry.

Production is expected to begin in May 2012 with a planned release date of spring 2013.

Set during the Korean War, the film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning dispatches from the front line by New York Herald Tribune correspondent Marguerite Higgins.

The film is being produced by Sean Lee of CJ E&M Pictures and John Han of US-based Grapevine Entertainment, alongside Brett Donowho and executive producer Paul Hudson.

The producers developed the story and commissioned a screenplay from Rachel Long and Brian Pittman (Silver Falls, Stranded). Marguerite Higgins, the Tribune’s then Far East bureau chief, who had covered the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps at the end of WWII, initially found herself banned by the US Army from covering the Korean conflict because she was a woman. 

Her persistent efforts to overturn this ruling eventually won her special permission from General Douglas MacArthur to work alongside the front line troops.

1950 follows her journey across the Korean peninsula with a platoon of marines, ending with the mass evacuation on Christmas Eve of nearly 200,000 South Korean civilians escaping the oncoming Chinese and North Korean armies.

CJ and Grapevine are in negotiations with cast and a worldwide distribution company to handle the release of the film outside Korea.

“While 1950 is based on a very special event in Korean history, we are confident that CJ and GV can elevate this tale into a film that will resonate with the audience worldwide,” said Lee.