After winning an Oscar for her direction of the Iraq-war thriller The Hurt Locker (becoming the first woman in history to win Best Director), there a lot of interest in Kathryn Bigelow’s next project. She has been rumored for a few movies, but the one that has become a firm reality is Triple Frontier (a.k.a. Sleeping Dogs).

We reported last week that Tom Hanks is attached to star in Triple Frontier, a crime film set in a border zone between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, which serves as a haven for drug cartels. Other A-listers such as Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Will Smith have all be rumored for the film at various points, but no one apart from Hanks has been confirmed as of yet.

Triple Frontier was looking like it would be Bigelow’s first post-Hurt Locker film, however, according to Variety, she and Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal are going to be making another indie film before that.

Details are thin on this new indie flick but apparently, “the narrative concerns black ops and is based on a true story that has appeared in printed form.” We did report way back at the start of the year that Bigelow would be helming Held By the Taliban, another fact-based thriller, but as far as we know that was just a rumor and she is not doing that film. It looks unlikely that this “black ops” film has anything to do with Held By the Taliban.

For those wondering where this leaves Triple Frontier, you needn’t worry as that project is still firmly on-track and this indie film is NOT likely to affect it. However, Frontier has “many moving parts,” so while everything gets sorted out on that project, Bigelow and Boal have decided to make an indie film in the meantime.

Bigelow and Boal are currently looking for financing for the black ops film (which has nothing to with the popular Call of Duty: Black Ops video game, FYI). Boal has yet to pen the script but the project is being compared to The Hurt Locker in that it will likely not cost much more than $10 million to make – a true feat in this day and age where hundred-million-dollar blockbusters are commonplace. Evidently, the directing and writing duo will have to put this thing together fast, certainly if the March 2011 shooting date of Triple Frontier is still being held in place (although there’s nothing official to suggest it will be).

The black ops project is also being compared with Clint Eastwood’s double-bill of war films, Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Eastwood had quite a bit of spare time during post-production of Fathers and so quickly put together and shot Iwo Jima as a companion piece.

Admittedly, I would rather Bigelow and Boal hurry it up with Triple Frontier, but I’m willing to wait a while longer if it means we get another intriguing film out of the situation. And this black ops film could ultimately work out in Frontier‘s favor: the longer it takes for that project to start shooting the greater the chance that busy actors like Depp, Penn and Smith could end up starring alongside Hanks.

More on Kathryn Bigelow’s black ops project and Triple Frontier as news comes out.

Source: Variety