Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to star in Black Sands, an action film that will be directed by Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy. Financed by Bill Block’s QED, the film will begin production April 1, 2012. In the script that Skip Woods has rewritten, Schwarzenegger will play a loner who wages war against a ruthless weapons manufacturer and his private army in the Southwest. The tone is Man On Fire meets High Plains Drifter. Block will be selling worldwide territories starting today.

Woods scripted A Good Day To Die Hard, which Fox is readying for production. Waugh and McCoy most recently directed Act Of Valor, an action adventure that features actual Navy SEALs. That film was acquired at an auction for distribution by Relativity Media, which paid a $13 million minimum guarantee and a $30 million P&A commitment, and scheduled the film for release on February 17, which is President’s Day Weekend.

Al Ruddy will produce Black Sands with Block and Paul Hanson. Waugh, McCoy and Max Leitman are the executive producers through their Bandito Brothers banner. Sergio Altieri and Kevin Elders wrote early drafts of the script that Woods is rewriting. scSchwarzenegger has squarely returned to his action wheelhouse since returning to acting after ending his run as California governor. He’s shooting the Kim Jee-woon-directed The Last Stand for Lionsgate, after completing The Expendables 2.

QED just completed I, Alex Cross, the Rob Cohen-directed thriller based on the James Patterson novel, with Tyler Perry playing Cross and Matthew Fox his nemesis. QED is also producing the Neil Blomkamp-directed Elysium, which stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. That film is currently shooting. QED and Schwarzenegger hooked up earlier this year on Cry Macho, but that project is tabled for now. CAA reps Schwarzenegger and Woods, ICM reps the directors.