Jean-Claude Van Damme is set to flex his more dramatic muscles in upcoming neo-noir action film Darkness of Man.
The feature — being introduced to buyers at the American Film Market by VMI Worldwide — comes from director James Cullen Bressack, and has been likened to the grittier titles in Van Damme’s impressive library, such as JCVD and The Bouncer.
No stranger to action stars, having worked with Bruce Willis (Fortress), Mel Gibson (Hot Seat), and Steven Seagal (Beyond the Law), Bressack co-write the script with Alethea Cho from an original story he devised alongside Van Damme. Bressack also produces alongside Jarrett Furst.
Set in Los Angeles, Darkness of Man sees the Kickboxer, Bloodsport and Universal Soldier legend plays Russell Hatch, an Interpol operative who takes on the role of father figure to Jayden, the son of an informant killed in a routine raid gone wrong. Years later, Hatch finds himself protecting Jayden and his uncle from a group of merciless gangs in an all-out turf war. Turning into a fight to survive Hatch will stop at nothing to protect Jayden and fight anyone getting in his way including supposed allies with hidden agendas and nefarious intents. Filming is set to start in Los Angeles in early 2023.
“James and I have been working together closely for a while now on Darkness of Man,” said Van Damme. “It’s our passion project. I’m very excited to start filming in Los Angeles. Hopefully you all will enjoy what we create.”
Added Bressack: “I’m very excited to dive into the world of Darkness of Man. JC has been amazing to collaborate with on this project and I appreciate the immense and immediate support from the team at VMI. I truly believe this will be something very special that will show a side of Van Damme audiences have yet to see.”
The deal was negotiated by Jessica Bennett, COO productions and acquisitions for VMI and Bressack.
“Thrilled to be partnering with James on Darkness of Man,” said Bennett. “James and I have been trying to find a project to collaborate on for quite some time and when he sent me the script to Darkness of Man I was immediately hooked. Partnered along with one of the most iconic actors of the time, this one will definitely be a market favorite.”
Andre Relis and Jessica Bennett will serve as Producers on the film along with James and Jarrett. Jean-Claude Van Damme, JD Beaufils, Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor, Grady Craig, Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Ameer Fawaz, and James V. Builian will be executive producers on the picture. Financing was provided by Bondit Media Capital.
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter’s Nov. 1 daily issue at the American Film Market.