As a director, Ron Howard’s career has become defined by his penchant for telling true stories, among them Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, and most recently, the conventional, but well-shot biopic Rush. He’ll soon add a similar effort to his resume with a story about a real-life felonious pilot.

According to Deadline, Howard signed on to direct Mena, a film based on a spec script by Gary Spinelli. The story – which was acquired by Universal Pictures for a cool $1 million deal – dramatizes the true events surrounding Barry Seal, an obese aircraft pilot who, throughout the 1980s, served as a drug trafficker for the CIA and the South American Medellín Cartel. He delivered contraband into the titular town of Mena, Arkansas until 1986, when he was shot to death by Medellín assassins in Baton Rouge. Producing the film are Kim Roth, Doug Davison and Howard’s Imagine co-founder, Brian Grazer.

The project is one of many to which Howard is attached – he’s also working on the whaling tale, In the Heart of the Sea, the thriller All I’ve Got, and, as far as we know, he’s still taking on Disney’s The Graveyard Book. Seeing as how those are his first priority, it might be awhile before Mena starts production.

Do you think Howard’s involvement with Mena makes sense? Are you curious to see how the film turns out?

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