Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) have been hired to write an original action thriller by the Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald of Parkes/MacDonald. The thriller, devised by producer Michael Lieber and Parkes, follows an American anthropologist called back to the Sahara to help clear the name of a friend accused of a terrorist attack. The story will be set among the Taureg tribes of Sahara West Africa, a nomadic people whose uranium rich land has become a flashpoint for both energy companies and terrorists. “We’re always looking for interesting character-based movies and this one has a fascinating man at the centre of it,” Purvis tells Deadline. “The fact that it takes place in a magical, forgotten part of the world and we get to work with great producers is of course a bonus.”

No word on what it’s called yet, but Purvis and Wade are no strangers to this kind of conspiracy thriller, having written both the latest Bonds and an adaptation of John Le Carré’s The Mission Song for UK producer Potboiler. The Constant Gardener, Potboiler’s previous Le Carré adaptation, was also about African corruption. They are repped by Jenne Casarotto in London and Jeremy Barber of UTA in the States.

Parkes MacDonald/Imagenation was established in October last year with a $10 million revolving development fund. The company invests in future Parkes/Macdonald projects developed under their first-look deal with DreamWorks, as well as directly with Imagenation. MacDonald and Parkes have teamed up with Studio Canal on a remake of Graham Green’s The Fallen Idol, adapted by David Farr (Hanna). Parkes/MacDonald are prepping the 3D Men in Black 3, which Columbia Pictures will release on May 25, 2012, and most recently produced Dinner for Schmucks.

Anthropology is a subject that producer Michael Lieber certainly knows a lot about. He spent 9 years working as a cultural anthropologist, writing a book about street hustlers in Trinidad. He then found a job as development head at new Century Productions.