Director Pedring Lopez is setting up to return to the helm for Maria 2 with a spritely roster of Indonesian talent with Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman. The sequel brings lead actress Christine Reyes and director Pedring Lopez back into the fold once more for a late 2019 production start.
Reyes penned a new chapter in her sixteen-year screen career with Maria from Viva Films, making her action-packed genre debut for local moviegoers back in March. The inaugural female-fronted thriller was written by Yz Carbonell and Rex Lopez, and stars Reyes as a former Black Rose cartel hitwoman forced back into the underworld to avenge her family with the help of her mentor, Sir Greg, played by Ronnie Lazaro.
Character and plot details are otherwise pending for the sequel which currently stands midway of what Lopez cited, in a February interview with The Fanboy SEO, as a trilogy for which Reyes is currently signed on. Lazaro is also expected to rejoin the franchise along with actor K.C. Montero who plays Black Rose lieutenant, Victor.
Maria, Lopez’s fifth feature film to date, accrued largely positive reviews stemming from its theatrical release in the Philippines. Netflix acquired the rights and released the film worldwide outside the Philippines on May 17 prior to the film earning a number four place in a top ten list of Non-English langauge titles for that month.
The sequel’s announcement back in April also arose amid the prospective auspices of a successful content deal between Lopez’s BlackOps Studios Asia and pan-Asian streamer, iFlix, for two new shows, first of which is sci-fi action drama, Amina Mundi, which is in development.
“I have high hopes for this sequel with Yayan and Cecep joining us for the ride.” says Lopez. “If you enjoyed what we helped put together in the first film, this next chapter is gonna be explosive. We have a complete script and I’m back with Sonny Sison and his team who are gonna make some very cool things happen for this next chapter in this violent, kinetic and intense saga. This round of casting is just the start, so get ready. More Maria is coming!”
Ruhian and Rahman, who appear briefly in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, are coming off of a winning streak in crossing over in the last four years between Indonesian, Japanese and Hollywood markets. On top of Comic 8: Casino Kings, the two seasoned silat impresarios, best known for throwing down fierce performances in The Raid franchise, also proliferated their talents in Angga D. Sasongko’s Fall 2018 release, 212 Warrior, which screened for the New York Asian Film Festival this month.
Their latest A-list pivot saw them go toe-to-toe with actor and action star Keanu Reeves in Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter Three – Parabellum, which overtook Avengers: Endgame for its opening weekend at the box office.
Ruhian recently reunited with The Raid‘s Joe Taslim for Indonesian action comedy, Hit & Run, back in June, and also joined Adrian Teh’s upcoming actioner, Wira, as well as Syamsul Yusof’s Malay warrior biopic, Mat Kilau. Rahman, who is also contributing to the action on Maria 2, is expected to add to his resumè with the forthcoming production of Juara helmer Charles Gozali’s new superhero venture, Satria Dewa Gatotkaca following its announcement earlier this year.
Lopez, who resides his creative vision and input as co-founder at production banner BlackOps Studios Asia and content agency Psyops8, cut his teeth in the horror genre with 2014 horror, 408, and followed suit a year later with Binhi. The Darkroom director switched gears in 2016 casting Cesar Montano, Meg Imperial, and former AV star Maria Ozawa for action horror, Nilalang, which garnered numerous awards at festivals in the Philippines, Spain and Los Angeles.