Three months since the announcement of pre-production for futuristic crime thriller, Berzerker, Film Combat Syndicate can confirm the casting of Malaysian actor and action star Hairul Azreen to lead Ranjeet S. Marwa’s new film.
Azreen will play Noble, an ex-con who now walks as a free man, seeking revenge on those responsible for his incarceration. Marwa himself describes the overall tone and vision of the film as a unique blend of sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, and Prachya Pinkaew’s 2003 Thai barnburner martial arts flick, Ong-Bak.
Berzerker has been in pre-production since March with Marwa set to direct from a script he wrote with co-scribe Daniel White. Principal photography will begin in Birmingham this July. Manchester-based stunt professional Kiran Pandé (Redcon-1) has been on board the project since late March and will now serve as the film’s fight choreographer.
Azreen is considered an A-lister among the current crop of film talents in Malaysia, and has quickly become a commodity in Malaysia’s film industry, having starred in Adrian Teh’s 2018 military thriller, Paskal, as well as in Teh’s 2019 action drama, Wira, which also has Indonesian action stalwart Yayan Ruhian (The Raid, The Raid 2, Beyond Skyline). Both films are currently streaming on Netflix.
Azreen can also be seen in the role of Zul in the 2018 Malaysian action sequel, Polis Evo 2, directed by Joel Soh and Andre Chiew as a sequel to Ghaz Abu Bakar’s inaugural 2015 action crime thriller, Polis Evo. Both movies drew critical praise and commercial success at the local box office, with the second film earning 20 million Malaysian Ringgit for its theatrical run.
More recently, Azreen wrapped shooting last fall on director Syafiq Yusof’s third installment of the hit Abang Long Fadil action comedy franchise starring Zizan Rizak. In addition, the actor is also on track for his own action thriller directing debut, Ada Hantu, for production company ACT2 Picture Sdn Bhd, in addition to rejoining Teh for action thriller, The Assisstant.
Marwa, a native of Birmingham in the UK, has cut his teeth for more than ten years behind the lens. In 2014, he commenced with The Last Goodbye trilogy – a world-renowned trio of action films that initially launched with the titular film, and continued secondly with Destiny in 2015, before reaching its climactic finish in 2017 with Remember Me: The Tale of an Old Ghost. The trilogy eventually led to Marwa’s first theatrical project in 2018 with Citizen Erased, which tells the harrowing story of a teenage girl indoctrinated into the world of terrorism. That same year would see more solemn offerings from Marwa, including a documentary exposing India’s black market organ trade called The Boy Who Never Came Home, and powerful WWII drama Memoirs of a Sikh Soldier. In 2019, he released monochrome horror film, The Missing, on Amazon Prime.
Marwa has since accumulated a phenomenal slate of projects already under his belt for development, including revenge action horror Blood Rush, which also has Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman on board. He is presently moving full steam ahead with post-production on Exiled: The Chosen Ones, which features Singaporean action star Sunny Pang, alongside Indonesian thesps Hannah Al Rashid, and Oka Antara.
Marwa and Azreen have been angling to collaborate on a project for quite some time, and Berzerker presented a golden opportunity.
“I look forward to joining the Berzerker team in the UK.” said Azreen. “The story is great, the locations are great and director Ranjeet and I have been wanting to work together for a while. The opportunity arose with this project and thanks to Ranjeet and the producers that we can now officially begin production soon.”
“I’ve been a fan of Hairul for quite some time.” stated Marwa. “The opportunity never came for us to work together because of our busy schedules. However, I pushed and made sure that the next project was with Hairul and that we’d make something special together”
Djonny Chen (Daemon Mind, Exiled: The Chosen Ones) will produce through his Silent D Pictures banner, with Marwa also rejoining Chen in the producers’ box through his own Rocket Sky High Motion Pictures label. Charmaine Binji and Gurnam Singh Marwa are also on board to produce.
UPDATE: A previous version of this article has been corrected pertaining to Hairul Azreen’s directing debut and his next project with director Adrian Teh, and the production company involved.