The movie would star Penn as a man who journeys to protect his son after his wife is brutally murdered in the gritty world of Mexican cartels.
Bardem would take the role of Rafael Castillo, a wealthy but righteous DA who wants to put the cartels away. Castillo shunned his rich family for the law.
Asger Leth will direct from a script by Peter Craig. The project started as a remake of 1993 Italian film La scorta but has since evolved into an action vehicle for Penn.