Bleecker Street has secured worldwide distribution rights to Riley Stearns dark comedy set in the world of karate, The Art of Self-Defense. Principal photography begins today, September 11, 2017 in Kentucky. The film is produced by End Cue and written and directed by Riley Stearns (FAULTS) and will star Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots and Alessandro Nivola.
The film centers on Casey (Jesse Eisenberg), who is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hypermasculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots) fighting for her place in it. Casey undertakes a journey, both frightening and darkly funny, that will place him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with an exciting filmmaker like Riley,” said Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen. “Ever since we saw his work at Sundance and SXSW we knew we wanted to be in business with him and we can’t wait to bring his original and hilarious vision to audiences around the world."
“This is a very personal film that happens to have karate in it. I’m lucky to be surrounded by actors, a crew, producers and a distributor like Bleecker Street who care as deeply about the project as I do,” said Stearns.
The film is produced by Andrew Kortschak, Cody Ryder, Stephanie Whonsetler and Walter Kortschak. Karpen is an Executive Producer on the film.
The deal was negotiated by Kent Sanderson of Bleecker Street and Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street. CAA handled negotiations on behalf of the filmmakers.