Sony Pictures Classics is reuniting with David Mamet, who will direct his original screenplay Redbelt, which is set in the Jiu-Jitsu fight world of West Los Angeles.
Variety says the studio will fully finance and globally distribute the $10 million actioner, which marks a return to the indie film world — as well as the theme of con games — for Mamet, who has lately been shepherding his CBS series “The Unit.”
Set to start production in May in L.A., Redbelt is an American samurai film set in an underworld inhabited by bouncers, cage-fighters, cops and special forces operatives.
Redbelt stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Jiu-Jitsu master who has eschewed prizefighting tooperate a self-defense studio. When he is conned by a cabal of movie stars and fight promoters, he must enter the ring to fightin order to regain his honor.
Redbelt will be produced by Chrisann Verges (Warm Springs, Mrs. Harris). Ejiofor’s credits include Children of Men, Kinky Boots and the upcoming American Gangster.
More casting is in the works; likely members include frequent Mamet collaborator magician Ricky Jay and Mamet’s wife, actress Rebecca Pidgeon. Sony Pictures Classics plans a summer 2008 release.