Bigelow, Malick eye 'Held by the Taliban'

Based on New York Times reporter's five-part series

How hot is Kathryn Bigelow?

Hot enough that mere interest in the project has sent waves across the town and the Internet, making it seem that the director of "The Hurt Locker" is attached to something she is not. And she's not the only one, because Terrence Malick is also circling.

"Held by the Taliban" is a package that has been out to studios that aims to adapt a five-part New York Times series about David Rohde's experience as a captive of the Taliban in Afghanistan for seven months. (The reporter was kidnapped with two Afghan colleagues on Nov. 10, 2008, as they traveled to an interview with a Taliban commander outside of Kabul.)

Stephen Belber, who most recently wrote and directed the Jennifer Aniston comedy "Management," is attached to adapt, and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall is attached to produce in a package that went out to certain studios.

Bigelow's name was linked to their package, as the director expressed interest in the articles, which seem right up her alley in light of "Locker." But she is not attached, according to CAA, which reps her, or ICM, which reps New York Times.

In the latest development, Malick has tossed him name into the "Taliban" ring, saying he wants to act as a producer and pitch his take on the material to buyers. At this juncture, it is unlikely that Malick's and Kennedy/Marshall's projects could coexist unless there were talks to bring the parties together.

It's a testament to the strength of the material that "Taliban" is attracting Malick, a filmmaker reknown for being extraordinarily picky about his projects. While Malick's past projects, including "The New World" and "The Thin Red Line," keep him in the director's chair about once per decade, he has been slightly more active as a producer in recent years, including "The Unforeseen" and "Amazing Grace."

The deal for the articles, and who will direct or produce, is likely to be decided by the end of this weekend.