EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime, which has built its original movie brand with  biopics and films based on headline-making true stories, is venturing into the action thriller genre with Close Quarters, a telefilm from producer Gale Anne Hurd and Sony TV. Lifetime star Catherine Bell (Army Wives) toplines the movie, about Abby, a happy suburban wife and mother who has been concealing her dark past as a military-trained special-ops agent.  But when her husband is mysteriously kidnapped, Abby’s past returns to haunt her and she must risk everything to protect her daughter and save the man she loves. “It’s turning her role in Army Wives on its head — in this she is a capable special ops agent with a  military background and expertise in technology who holds her ground in the action area,” Hurd said, adding that the film for the first time will showcase Bell’s extensive martial arts training.

Tapped to co-star in Close Quarters are Anthony Michael Hall as  Bell’s husband and Mekhi Phifer as a special ops agent Bell served with in Afghanistan. Ernest Dickerson (Dexter, The Wire) will direct the teleplay by Jolene Rice (Lifetime Movie Network’s Still Small Voices) and Adam Beason. Close Quarters originated from an idea by Bell who worked on it with her husband Beason and Rice. They took the treatment to Lifetime as part of Bell’s relationship with the network through Army Wives, and Hurd was brought in because of her background in the action and thriller genre. Close Quarters is being produced by Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment and Sony TV. Dickerson most recently directed an upcoming episode of AMC’s breakout hit The Walking Dead, which Hurd executive produces. This the second Lifetime movie produced by Hurd and Sony this year following the Julia Ormond starrer The Wronged Man, which premiered in January on the Lifetime Movie Network. Bell is with Gersh and Brillstein; Hall is with Innovative and MBST; Phifer with WME and Brookside.