|Ramin Sohrab on the set of Malek (2014)
EXCLUSIVE: A filmmaker will go the extra mile to make a film happen, and with a concept that feels so good and workable that they’re willing to risk more than enough. Finnish-Iranian actor and martial artist Ramin Sohrab certainly fits the mold with a career lasting up to a decade and wearing several hats throughout his career thusfar whilst primarily calibrating hismelf as Iran’s answer to the likes of Jet Li or Donnie Yen.
Malek, his 2014 proof-of-concept action short was a terrific exhibition of his skillset following four years of slow development in Iran and preceded another four years of even slower progress. His 2017 concept proof, Viulu, proved equally stellar despite taking it to BiFan at Korea last year in hopes of stirring up some funding only to end up seeing those efforts fall short as well.
Thus, landing right back at square one and with eight years in and nothing to show for it, Sohrab decided to tweak his 2014 gig just enough to earn the appeal of censors in Iran. That leaves us with the latest incarnation of Malek now known as Layer Of Lies after recently selling his house and his car to get some funding going ahead of production.
Ultimately per Iran’s standards, it also meant removing some of the more mature measures of Sohrab’s vision, including scenes involving guns or any kind of blood and gore. No need to fret though, for Sohrab intends to make up for the lack of red stuff with some serious, hearty and fight heavy martial arts action.
An ex-fireman returns to his home country Iran after a decade-long absence, only to have his old enemy resurface and steal away what he treasures most – and now he’ll stop at nothing to exact revenge.
Filming has already commenced in Sohrab’s native Finland in Helsinki while the aspiring martial arts star officially acquired his permits on Wednesday with plans to shoot in Tehran beginning April 5. Sohrab will star and make his feature directing debut from his own script as written along with Hamid Kaviani, Joe Leone and Sami Laulajainen. The multi-faceted actor and director will also produce via his Sonram Productions Viulu cohorts Mohsen Sarafi serving as producer, and actress Sonja Farling over at Ramson & Co. joining in for the cast as well as executive producer with Laulajainen co-producing.
Currently, the goal is to finish up in Finland and finalize plans in preparaton for Iran in the next several months. Upon completion, Layer Of Lies could very well headline itself as Iran’s first martial arts action picture which would hail Sohrab, the son of a martial arts master himself, as a trailblazer in his own right.
Both Malek and Viulu are already available online to check out and rest assured, you won’t be left without your fill if you love a good deal of fists and kicks in your action flicks. Obviously the lack of blood and gore and firearms will get frowned upon by some in the Western world but you in the spirit of giving credit where it’s due, you need only see the aforementioned short films to be convinced. He’s playing the industry game with a dicey hand and very little room for failure, and yet given what Sohrab can provenly do in the course of gracing moviegoers and fans with another addition to the martial arts film genre, I’m pretty stoked.
Further casting, crew and production info remain pending with the hopeful addition of a few potential name actors to attach to the project. Things are fluctuating indeed, but forward moving nonetheless and the following exclusive photos courtesy of Sohrab from the Helsinki shoot are finally proof of that with the next major phase of production in the Middle East now forthcoming.
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