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For years Scoot McNairy has been a character actor working on the fringe of fame in film and television. Then in 2010, his career gained noteworthy momentum thanks to his starring role in Gareth Edwards' tense invasion indie Monsters. Critics cheered the gritty character drama that was shouldered by McNairy and co-star Whitney Able playing a pair of Americans trying to avoid rampaging alien forces as they make their way out of Mexico and back to the States. Soon, bigger opportunities—though not bigger roles—followed for McNairy.

Last year, he made appearances in the Brad Pitt-fronted crime thriller Killing Them Softly, the Academy Award darling Argo, and Gus Van Sant's political drama Promised Land. Plus, he lined up a reunion with Pitt, joining the cast of Steve McQueen's already-anticipated period piece 12 Years a Slave, which boasts such noteworthy names as Benedict Cumberbactch, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Michael Fassbender in its insanely impressive ensemble. With production on that film recently wrapped, McNairy is primed to move on to a new challenge. And his next will place him opposite Jude Law.

Deadline reports McNairy has signed on to co-star opposite Law in the nautical thriller Black Sea. We first heard about the feature in early 2012, when The Last King of Scotland helmer Kevin Macdonald announced his intentions to make a "dark, little vicious B-movie," pitching the project as "The Treasure of The Sierra Madre in a submarine."

Scripted by Matilda The Musical scribe Dennis Kelly, Black Sea centers on a rogue sea captain who after being laid off from a salvage company, decides to pull together a crew to man a submarine he hopes to navigate to a sunken treasure lost in the Black Sea. Law is set to play the male lead of this treasure-seeking skipper. For his part, McNairy will portray an American who urges the captain to overcome his doubts about this risky venture, and go on this quest for gold and riches.

Back when Black Sea's distribution rights were being shopped at Cannes, the logline included mention of a "shadowy backer," which may well refer to McNairy's role and suggest his character has less than honorable intentions. But this potential problem and the troubles of submarine travel are not all the crew of this vessel needs to worry about. Having crewed a mix of Russians and Englishmen, this captain has assembled a team that has deep trust issues that only grow more volatile as the sink deeper into the Black Sea.

So far, Black Sea sounds like a promising endeavor that will center on sharp character drama and claustrophobic tension. With an Academy Award-winning director (One Day in September) working with two actors who seem to be expertly handle whatever role is through their way, this could prove to be a pretty fantastic thriller.

Focus Features will be releasing Black Sea eventually. No production start date or release date has yet been revealed. In the meantime, look for McNairy in Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely.