EXCLUSIVE: Hannibal Pictures has acquired Mario van Peebles’ directed and produced thriller Armed in which he also stars. Hannibal will lead foreign distribution of the movie and GVN will handle domestic distribution. They said the film will receive theatrical distribution in 2018.

Van Peebles has said in previous interviews about the film that he pulled from real events and took a hard look at what kind of people are allowed to have weapons. As part of his research for the film, he also spoke to those in the gun violence prevention movement to understand the issues and in order to craft a realistic thriller.

The film is the first (since Baadasssss! about his father) that van Peebles has both directed and produced since 2003. He has, however, been directing for TV including a large part of the critically acclaimed Roots mini-series.

The film also stars Ryan Guzman (Boy Next Door), William Fichtner (Independence Day), Jemma Dallender (Contract to Kill), V Bozeman (Empire), Columbus Short (Scandal), Paul Rodriguez, Rocsi Diaz, DC Young Fly, Earthquake, political commentator Roland Martin and features a performance by Dionne Warwick.

The movie follows a former U.S. Marshall (Peebles) who has fallen on hard times after he led his undercover agents in a raid that went horribly wrong. Suffering extreme anxiety attacks, divorced and temporarily living at his successful brothers home, the Marshall literally runs into Grace (Dallender), a beautiful, freespirited, self proclaimed tantric healer and erotic filmmaker. In spite of their differences, Grace finds a kindred spirit in the Marshall who she believes is in need of spiritual enlightenment. When his former right hand man Jonesie (Guzman), the most lethal and dedicated member of his team shows up, things go sideways.

Richard Rionda Del Castro, CEO of Hannibal Classics, said, “I am delighted to work with Mario Van Peebles again. It has been the third time and it is always a pleasure working with great talents and filmmakers that we trust and respect. This time he brings us to a very unique humaine adventure that is very commercial and timely.”

“We are living in some strange times and we need to tell more stories reflecting that,” says producer Justin Nesbitt. “The film is actually inspired by real people and real events. Which makes this film alarmingly relevant, and I’m sure you’ll see why.”