The past fifteen months have seen misses rather than hits for director Ranjeet S. Marwa, who’s ambitious plans for crowdfunded action thriller, Blood Rush, came to a screeching halt as the Coronavirus pandemic took center stage in the UK as it did the rest of the globe.
Many productions forced to stop midway or shelved altogether, although many filmmakers and industry stalwarts instead chose to work around the current pandemic to keep the biz afloat on the market and distribution fronts, with at least some ongoing productions relegated to safety protocols to avoid scrutiny.
Marwa, based in Birmingham, had met up with two cast members upon visiting Jakarta last year prior to virtually shooting independent mini-doc, Covid-19: The Impact On Asian Cinema to make use of his time during the U.K. lockdown. In the time thereafter, he chose to put his focus into the virtual markets to pitch his projects, namely action thriller, Traced, for which he optioned the rights earlier on from writer Daniel White, and with whom he collaborated to retool and suit as a starring vehicle for Singaporean actor Sunny Pang (Headshot, The Night Comes For Us).
That film never panned out, although it was only a matter of time before Marwa and production associate, Silent D Pictures’ Djonny Chen would finally get to take initiative and move forward months later with Exiled: The Chosen Ones, the isolated action thriller now in post-production and rejoins Pang with The Night Comes For Us cohort Hannah Al-Rashid.
Marwa is also developing a sequel which he hopes to have The Night Comes For Us and Headshot co-star Zack Lee, following his expected appearance in the upcoming inaugural survival thriller which we reported on earlier this year.
As for the rest of Marwa’s slate, it’s been a roll of the dice each time (see more about Blind Rage, Wolves and Barbaric), with Marwa treading the biz terrain and timing his projects as much as possible with respect to producers and investors, as well as prospective casting additions, and even going back to the drawing board for a few of his titles. This brings us back to Traced, which, at the time of its report was a different kind of project.
“I have always been inspired by Old Boy and was fortunate enough for this script to land on my lap.” said Marwa, last year. “It mixes violent prison drama with asian extreme cinema. It was almost like a dream project for me.”
I am told that Pang’s own schedule is a factor with him now slated for another project, and with Marwa having since solidified a new plan and a new direction this time around as of February, now refurbishing the action pic as Berzerker. Plot details are under wraps, while I can report the idea behind Berzerker can be best described by its influences – namely Michael Mann’s Collateral, and Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2019 miniseries, To Old To Die Young.
Additionally, I am told that casting is now set for the characters, including the lead role who will be a relative newcomer from the UK, an experienced action performer who will make their lead acting debut on Berzerker. Casting details are also locked away from the public and will be announced in the coming weeks as Marwa readies cameras for a late Spring/early Summer shoot.
Silent D’s own Chen will produce alongside Charmaine Binji and Nick Khan, who also plays a key villain in Marwa’s Exiled: The Chosen Ones opposite Pang and Al-Rashid, in addition to serving as fight choreographer.
Release plans are still cooking up for Exiled: The Chosen Ones, which I am told is presently working toward a release in Southeast Asia to get things going. Acquisitions for the film’s international sales rights and distribition news are still pending.