From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
A big-budget military thriller about an American submarine captain's attempt to rescue the Russian president will soon be pre-approved for filming in Alaska, the state says.
The Relativity Media film, currently called "Hunter Killer," is in the planning stages. Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “Shooter") is expected to direct with Gerard Butler (“300”) in talks to star, Variety reports.
A producer for the film has described the movie as a $50 million to $100 million project. In other words: Two or three times the size of "Big Miracle."
The state film office received the producers' request to pre-qualify "Hunter Killer" for the Alaska film incentive about a month ago, said Wanetta Ayers, director of the state Economic Development Division.
The state will likely approve the application soon, she said. “It would be the largest incentive ever awarded under the program."
"We just approved, or are in the beginning stages of approval, for four or five applications, including two feature films," Ayers said.
A pre-qualification does not mean that the movie will definitely shoot in Alaska. A spokeswoman for Relativity declined to comment for this story. Producers have also applied to film in other locations, according to the company.
As always, plans for filming locations -- and even whether the movie will be made -- could change at any moment.
The "Hunter Killer" script is based on the novel “Firing Point,” by George Wallace and Don Keith, according to Variety:
“(The) story follows an untested submarine captain who must work with a Navy SEAL team to rescue Russia's president, who's taken prisoner during a military coup. The two sides team to stop a rogue Russian general from igniting WWIII."
Butler was in talks to play the commander of the USS Toledo, the trade magazine reported.
A producer on the film, Jeff Waxman, told the Daily News this month that he hoped to make an action-thriller in Alaska. Filming would begin later this year, he said.
Waxman said he toured Whittier and other Alaska locations in January. "They rolled out the red carpet for us,” he said of the isolated, waterside town.
He declined to name the film or talk about the plot at the time, but said the state film incentive, now under debate, was key to the project. “’Big Miracle’ went up there and ‘Frozen Ground,’ but this would be a bigger movie,” he said. “And if we can pull it off, which I think we can, people would want to come back.”
Anchorage production company SprocketHeads is working with the film-makers and will be handling all local questions about the project, said owner Carolyn Robinson. She declined to talk in detail about the film.
“I am elated and proud!” Robinson wrote in an email. “We'll be posting approved Hunter Killer updates on the SprocketHeads Facebook site.”