After penning Alejandro González Iñárritu's three most popular films (Amores perros, 21 Grams, Babel), screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga has decided to go at it alone. Variety reports Arriaga will make his feature directorial debut on The Burning Plain, with Charlize Theron coming onboard to star and exec produce. Mark Cuban's 2929 Productions will finance the film, while Cuban, Marc Butan, Todd Wagner and Beth Kono will also produce. Known for his complex, intertwining stories, Arriaga will once again return to that format for this film -- focusing mainly on "very intense love stories that take place in different places and times, with characters trying to find the healing powers of love, forgiveness and redemption." Isn't that what all his films are about? Theron will play a woman named Sylvia who attempts to reconcile with her parents after a turbulent childhood.

The film, which will cost under $20 million, currently has no distribution plan in place. Although 2929 Productions has gone day-and-date before, I can't seem them going that route here. Then again, I could be wrong. It was fairly obvious that Arriaga would go solo following the war of words he and Iñárritu found themselves in last year. At one point things became so bitter that Iñárritu banned Arriaga from attending the Babel premiere at Cannes. Since that whole snafu pretty much solidified the fact that their relationship was all but over, it was only a matter of time before Arriaga did his own thing. I guess it will be interesting to see how one does without the other; Arriaga's script for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (directed by Tommy Lee Jones) was good, but I thought the film was just too damn slow ... and long. Is Iñárritu overrated? Is Arriaga really the mastermind behind all that great work? I guess we'll see ...