Imagine if you were a studio executive who holds the all-important greenlight. You’re in the middle of a pitch meeting when the pitcher uncorks this beauty: “Ok, ok, ok…This story is set in the world of underground cage-fighting. Our hero is a master martial artist who has left this world to establish a studio for self-defense. But he falls victim to an elaborate con by promoters, and must return to the brutal world he left to right the wrongs and regain his honor. What do you think?”
Would your response be:
B) “Wait a minute…aren’t you Chuck Norris?”
C) “One sec. I’ve got 1982 on the line and they really need you to return their property.”
D) “I think there’s been a mistake. Our direct-to-DVD division is two doors down.”
E) “It’s a go, Mr. Mamet.”
If you said E, you must work at Sony Pictures Classics. The blunt writer/director/producer just made a pact with Sony to put out his next film, set in the underground fight scene of Los Angeles, entitled Redbelt. Cannon Films-esque premise aside, Mamet sees this as a gritty, low budget samurai film that embraces honor as a central theme. And as proof positive that he’s placing the emotional aspects of the film far ahead of the physical ones, he’s given the lead part to Chiwetel Ejiofor, who’s been all over the world from Serenity to Four Brothers to Inside Man to Dirty Pretty Things, and I’m just talking about his accents in each of those films!
Naturally, you can expect the regulars of the Mamet troupe, Ricky Jay and Rebecca Pidgeon, to grab up some screentime as well. It’s slated to be a summer 2008 release for Sony Classics. Apparently, they’ve been on Mamet to do his next “small” film, whatever the subject matter, for some time, as they’ve previously worked together on the greatness that is The Spanish Prisoner.