Riding high off the fumes of "Drive" which had just won Best Director at Cannes, last summer FilmDistrict was set to re-up with Nicolas Winding Refn for his next film, "Only God Forgives" reteaming him with his totally brotastic bud, Ryan Gosling. Well, it seems the winds have changed somewhat dramatically.
Deadline reports that the deal with FilmDistrict never closed and instead, The Weinstein Company's VOD/multi-platform shingle Radius — who recently snapped up the Refn produced "Pusher" remake — has beat out a number of suitors (including CBS Films) to land the movie, in what is said to be a $2.5 million pricetag. Frankly, that's the kind of payout we'd expect from The Weinstein Company proper, not a VOD sideline gig, but we presume this deal will mark that shingle as major players.
Said to be more violent than "Drive," and featuring swordplay to boot, the story centers on Julian (Gosling), who has lived in exile in Bangkok after killing a cop ten year ago. With his brother, he runs a Thai boxing club as a front for the family's drugs smuggling operation run by his Florida based Mom, Jenna (Kristin Scott Thomas). However, his brother gets into hot water when he murders a prositute, and the cops call on retired cop Chang – aka The Angel Vengeance — to weigh in on the matter. He determines that the father of the murdered girl is allowed to kill Julian's brother, and in order to set the balance right, Chang then chops off his right hand. Hearing of her son's death, Jenna arrives in the city seeking revenge and forces Julian to hunt down Chang. He challenges him to a boxing match…and loses, setting Jenna on a path of revenge. Damn.
No word yet on release dates or anything like that, but considering filming only got underway early this year, we'd wager a fall festival bow at the earliest, though 2013 is probably more likely (and perhaps a return to Cannes, where "Drive" was a smash). Either way, it's a helluva start for the new shingle that also nabbed "Bachelorette" out of Sundance, and as long as the movie has a home, we're happy. In case you just can't wait to see anything from the movie, a first look at the film has popped up on the Wild Bunch website, with Gosling wearing his game face.