In April, we first broke the news of a new proof-of-concept in the works for James Moten Black’s American Ronin, described as “a contemporary martial arts piece cosigning his love for classic jidaigeki cinema and anime”. Production ultimately had to take a back seat as the United States landed right into a lockdown with California, where Black and his production is based, under curfew for a time due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The state is currently staggering in its efforts to ween itself into a new “normal”, with various independent creatives working around the pandemic to meet safety guidelines in order to carry out their own projects. Such is the case for Black and his team as they forge ahead with production on American Ronin, with plans for a feature film that will hopefully rejoin him with select cast members of actor, filmmaker and cinematographer Choice Skinner’s multi-awarded 2017 Black Lightning fan film – namely Skinner, and actress Sachiko Ishida. Rounding out the current cast are Joan Moten, and actor/fight coordinator Malachi Mutakkabir.
An exact plot outline is being kept under lock and key, but I can report, as Moten tells me, that the forthcomimg proof will introduce an action-packed story, taking its cues from a real-life post World War II government program employing ex-NAZI scientists and engineers, and using this as a pivot into fiction for our title character, played by Black.
We also have a small round of behind the scenes photos taken by Ishida and on-set photographer Branden Moten which you can check out below, firstly including an exclusive first look at Black in character.