According to Variety, Screenwriter Scott Frank is set to make his directing debut on The Lookout, a dramatic thriller he scripted. Spyglass and Disney will finance and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star.

The pic revolves around a mentally impaired former athlete who works as a janitor at a bank and gets sucked into a heist.

Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes, Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber will produce. Shooting begins next spring in Canada.

Gordon-Levitt stared in "3rd Rock From the Sun" and appeared in features ("Angels in the Outfield," 10 Things I Hate About You) but left the business to attend Columbia U.

In "Lookout" he'll be making his studio starring debut, after edgy roles in indie films Manic and the Gregg Araki-directed Mysterious Skin.

The latter caught the attention of Frank, who wrote "Lookout" eight years ago. The script originated at DreamWorks and has had at various times attachments from directors Sam Mendes and David Fincher and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling.

Still, it never got going even as Spyglass stepped in as foreign partner. Then DreamWorks moved aside and Frank came in as director.

"I had no idea he was the kid from '3rd Rock' until later, but as soon as I met him, I knew," Frank said. "I'd found someone who would make it better than it was on the page."

Birnbaum said Disney's Dick Cook and Nina Jacobson approved the actor, but all acknowledge this is no sure commercial bet. Birnbaum said it's possible they will pull in more recognizable names, but he said the film costs less than $20 million and that Spyglass and Disney will make it no matter what.

"Joseph is a very good young actor, but we are doing this for a price," Birnbaum said. "Any big names we might add will not be doing it just for the money."