The script, entitled Close Far Away, was purchased through Zaillian and Mandate's newly formed co-venture Film Rites, which has a joint first-look deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Assur is attached to direct, while Zaillian is producing and Mandate president Nathan Kahane will serve as executive producer.
Film Rites' Garrett Basch brought in the project and will oversee for the co-venture with Mandate's Nicole Brown. Mandate International will handle foreign sales on the project.
Close Far Away weaves together five stories into a thriller set in Europe, Africa, and the US and examines the personal and global consequences that ensue when individuals find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.
'As a photojournalist working in some of the most harrowing parts of the world, Jens brings a unique, humanistic view to his writing and directing,' Zaillian said. 'I'm proud to be associated with him, and proud of Mandate for their enthusiasm for this ambitious project.'
Mandate's Dan Freedman brokered the deals on behalf of the venture.