EXCLUSIVE: In its second significant deal at Cannes, Radius-TWC acquired North American rights to Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi in a low seven-figure minimum guarantee. The film is set in modern Beijing and follows the spiritual journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Hu Chen) whose unparalleled tai chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club. As the fights grow tougher, he must compromise his own beliefs in order to survive. This is the second deal for Radius, which on Saturday acquired the Directors Fornight film Blue Ruin. TWC-Radius also has the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed Only God Forgives playing here at Cannes, with Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas starring.
Reeves, who also stars in the film, met Chen during The Matrix, where Chen was a stuntman and a trainer for Reeves. It’s Chen’s first lead role, and the film also stars international action fixtures like The Raid’s Iko Uwais and Jeremy Marinas. Michael G. Cooney wrote the script and Man Of Tai Chi is a co-production between China Film Group, Wanda Media, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Universal Pictures. Lemore Syvan is the producer. Radius will release the film in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego confirmed the deal to Deadline, and issued this statement: “Keanu has done a terrific job with Man Of Tai Chi, which features some of the most kick ass fight scenes we’ve seen in a long time. Tiger Chen, Iko Uwais and a whole ensemble of hard hitting badasses deliver the goods.”
Said Reeves: “I could not hope for a better home than Radius-TWC for Man Of Tai Chi. Their passion, understanding and support of the film is what a filmmaker wishes for in bringing their storytelling to the widest possible audience.” Deal was made by Weinstein Company COO David Glasser and Quinn and Janego, who all negotiated the deal with CAA.