The film, which marks the feature directorial debut of Nick Sasso, follows a retired Muay Thai fighter (Sasso) working as a bouncer, who rescues an alluring transgender performer (Nomi Ruiz) from a nefarious thug, eventually becoming her bodyguard, protector, and confidant. The relationship leads Sasso’s character to make an unexpected return to fighting, risking not only his relationship but his life.
“While my passion for the martial art of Muay Thai is at the center of the film, the story drives a deeper message about the importance of love and respect,” said Sasso, who also wrote the script. “It’s about acknowledging the human connections people need despite their differences and the words and actions that go unsaid that mean so much more than we think.”
Haymaker stars Zoë Bell (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Deathproof), Veronica Falcón (Queen of the South, Jungle Cruise), D.B. Sweeney (Sharp Objects, Two and a Half Men), Udo Kier (Blade, Downsizing), John Ventmiglia (Money Monster, Jessica Jones) and Kathryn Kates (Orange is the New Black, Hunters).
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“It is an honor to have worked on this film for almost four years as a producer and now as the North American distributor,” said Kamikaze Dogfight partner, Andrew van den Houten. “Nick Sasso is one of the most driven and talented directors I’ve worked with and I couldn’t be more proud of what was accomplished through his vision and leadership.”
Ruiz brings authenticity to the trans character featured in Haymaker, continuing her trailblazing career. She became the first Puerto Rican trans woman to perform on prestigious stages worldwide after appearing on Hercules
& Love Affair’s debut album. Haymaker marks her feature acting debut. She previously appeared on FX’s Mayans M.C.
“Nomi Ruiz brings so much originality to the film as well, both through her performance and her music,” said van den Houten. “Supporting transgender actors and producers is crucial as we work towards creating a more inclusive industry. Kamikaze Dogfight will continue to pursue opportunities that help underrepresented voices reach audiences worldwide.”
“Haymaker fights the good indie fight with grit and devotion to the sport its story is founded upon,” said Gravitas Ventures Senior Acquisitions Manager, Nick Royak. “The diversity in this cast is one of its greatest calling cards and our team is looking forward to audiences watching their performances.”
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