Dwayne Johnson has signed to star in the action thriller Protection, as announced by IM Global Founder and CEO Stuart Ford today. Protection will be directed by Simon West (Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The Mechanic) and is scheduled to lens in New Mexico this fall. The screenplay was written by Brandon Noonan.

Johnson will star as 'Hombre' in the $35 million budgeted, high-octane tale of a mercenary Mexico City security operative forced to smuggle the daughter of an under-threat, high ranking judge and the judge's chief legal counsel across the border while being pursued by corrupt cops, drug lords and white collar U.S. criminal forces. With Protection, Johnson continues the return to his action roots, having just completed filming CBS Films' Faster, which is scheduled for release this November.

Protection will be produced by Ford and Robert Lawrence, along with Gordon Gray and Marc Ciardi of Mayhem Pictures. Brian Kavanaugh Jones will executive produce and Jib Polhemus will act as co-producer.

Said Ford: "Dwayne is poised to consolidate his position as one of the planet's top action stars over the next few years. Meanwhile Simon is a proven commodity when it comes to studio level action pics. Add to that a pulsating storyline which is very much grounded in current events and I think we have a potential smash hit movie".