Legendary Pictures has found a helmer for the tragic wildfire story Esperanza in Jim Mickle, the acclaimed American director who’s made a name for himself with horror indies Stake Land and We Are What We Are and last year’s Southern-fried pulp thriller Cold In July.

Image (1) esp__130814215524.jpg for post 564264Esperanza is adapted from The Esperanza Fire, John Maclean’s book about a wildland fire started by an arsonist that killed the tightly knit forest service engine crew that bravely battled the blaze. Set against the backdrop of one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, the film chronicles the Spartan culture of these firefighters battling the ‘perfect storm’ of wildfires.

Mickle will direct from a script by Sean O’Keefe (The Escapist, Riders on the Storm, The Paper Man) with Alex Hedlund overseeing for Legendary. He’s the latest indie helmer to be tapped for bigger budget studio fare, as Gareth Edwards was when he jumped from the low budget creature feature Monsters to the $160 million Godzilla. That hiring choice paid off for Legendary in over half a billion dollars at the global box office.

Esperanza will also mark the first feature project Mickle directs from someone else’s script. The award-winning filmmaker recently added television to his resume as the creator, co-writer, executive producer, and director of SundanceTV’s upcoming 2016 series Hap And Leonard. He’s repped by WME, Jeremy Platt and attorneys Sean Marks and Marios Rush.