Rachel Weisz is set to star in and produce Snatchback, a $15 million kidnapping thriller dealing with illegal child recovery from Dredd director Pete Travis.
The project is being launched to buyers in Cannes by London-based Protagonist Pictures.
The film is inspired by the true story of Maureen Dabbagh, a Virginia woman whose ex-husband kidnapped their two-year-old daughter and took her to the Middle East in 1992. Dabbagh spent over a decade searching for her child, one of 1,000 children illegally abducted from the U.S. each year, before she finally found her.
The plot sees Maureen (or "Mo," as she is nicknamed) find out how far she is willing to go to get her child back. In the years after the kidnapping, she becomes a mercenary engaged in dangerous missions across the Middle East to help other families recover kidnapped children — while never giving up on her own search.
Weisz, who is featured in two competition films at Cannes, The Lobster and Youth, has personally developed the project with Travis and producer Frida Torresblanco (Pan's Labyrinth), whose New York-based Braven Films is producing. Torresblanco is producing alongside Weisz. Eric Laufer, Giovanna Randall and Josh Goldstein will executive produce, while Jon Furay and James Lavigne will co-produce in association with Vigorous Pictures.
"As told by Pete Travis in his riveting script, Mo's story is powerful and exciting, but at its heart are deep maternal emotions that anyone in the world can relate to," said Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge. "It's a powerhouse role and only an actress as gifted as Rachel could play it."
Travis, whose other credits include Omagh and Vantage Point, is currently shooting City of Tiny Lights, starring Riz Ahmed, in the U.K. Snatchback is scheduled to shoot later this year.