Those who often attend film festivals may be familiar with the work of filmmaker Paul Nicoletos, best known for delivering recent notable short films like the sci-fi thriller, Icarus Down, and last year’s sci-fi action hit, Kill Shelter. Nowadays, he and producer Viet K. Huynh have moved on with other endeavors, namely working on another proof of concept they hope to turn into a feature film in 2015 in the form of the new fantasy martial arts thriller from Reloaded Films and Teru Media, Dragon’s Blade (CLICK HERE for disambiguation).
Nicoletos spoke exclusively to Film Combat Syndicate about the production and where plans to take it between now and in 2015. “Our goal with the short is to get people interested and find potential producers and investors who would like to make this into a feature.” he said. “I feel like this story truly has potential to be not so much as an excellent action film, but an action film with a story behind it. So our goal right now is to finish this scene we filmed and use it to promote the film so we can finish the proof of concept and in the meantime hopefully get people interested in the project to make the feature.”
Dragon’s Blade is set in an alternate American reality long adapted as a societal and cultural extension of Japan following the Allies’ defeat during World War II. The story here is preset by the legacy of five unique and powerful swords forged in ancient Japan, each embodied by the strength and spirit of their respective bearers and predecessors whose ownerships were measured solely by their worthiness. Actor, martial artist and stuntman Morgan Benoit (The Forbidden Kingdom, Brutal), plays swordbearer, Takeo, whose mission to rescue his beloved will pit him against a greedy and unworthy foe lusting for all five swords after having already claimed three and killing their owners.
The project marks Benoit‘s second with Nicoletos following last year’s Kill Shelter, and much to Nicoletos‘s own approval as well. “I love working with Morgan!…” he writes. “Apart from his great personality that makes him a pleasure to work with and easygoing, I would say his passion, dedication and relentless work ethic are what I respect and enjoy most about working with him. Morgan was always whom we wanted to play the lead character, and even the feature will be written with him in mind.”
The first scene took three days to complete, beginning on December 19 at a warehouse in Los Angeles near Little Tokyo, with a handful of talented action actors on hand. Kerry Wong, whose credits among many include Cedric The Entertainer’s Dance Fu and the Dolph Lundgren techno zombie thriller, Battle Of The Damned, was on hand to design the rip-roaring action. “To be able to come come up with the action sequence on the spot and be able to tweak things instantly is truly amazing and he is an artist in his own right.” says the director. “We only had two rehearsal days before we shot, meaning Kerry had to come up with the choreography and rehearse with everyone in only two days while Morgan and our amazing stunt crew had to learn it and perform it just as quick, all while taking notes and making adjustments. Thats why you work with professionals who love what they do. And of course, the environment changes on-set and when time became an issue, Kerry was there to adjust and modify accordingly.”
is also producing the project with Nicoletos
and Huynh who also crafted the story while writers Joseph Foulk and Casey Stegman are aiming to draft a script by the end of next month. The official synopsis reads as follows:
After his new bride is kidnapped and held for ransom by a mysterious foe, Takeo — one of five elite samurai who wield the legendary Dragon Blades — sets out on a path of revenge to save his beloved. But with each new enemy he strikes down along his blood-soaked journey, Takeo comes to question whether things are fully what they seem. Go Rin: The Dragon’s Blade is a classic tale of love, honor, and vengeance set in a modern world where Japanese feudal law and the way of the samurai still reign supreme.
Benoit is joined by Kill Shelter star Billy Bussey, and action actors Pei Pei Yuan, Tamiko Brownlee, Bryan Cartago, Jimmy Chhiu, and Alvin Hsing. At least four more scenes are being planned as filming continues next month were we may likely learn some more details about what the project will entail. In the meantime, the project now has well over 120 spectacular behind-the-scenes set photos from last weekend. Feel free to check out a handful of those in the gallery beneath, and link over to the official Facebook page to lend your support!
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Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.