Will helm 1980s drug tale…

Ron Howard (‘Heart of the Sea,’ ‘Rush’) has been tapped by Universal Pictures to direct the fact-based drama ‘Mena,’ says Deadline.

Based on a spec script by Gary Spinelli, the project is about Barry Seal, a portly Arkansas-based pilot who, in the 1980s, was a gunrunner, and drug trafficker who flew covert flights for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Medellín Cartel.

The film’s title refers to Mena, Arkansas, where a lot of the illegal activity took place, under the noses of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.

Doug Davison and Howard’s partner over Imagine Entertainment, Brian Grazer, along with Kim Roth will serve as executive producers. Universal’s Peter Cramer will oversee development.