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Nicolas Cage-starring sci-fi martial-arts movie Jiu Jitsu to be shot in Cyprus


- Budgeted at close to €25 million and directed by Dimitri Logothetis, this is the first international production to take advantage of Cyprus’s cash rebate scheme

Nicolas Cage-starring sci-fi martial-arts movie Jiu Jitsu to be shot in Cyprus
Actor Nicolas Cage

Greek-American director-producer Dimitri Logothetis (Kickboxer: Retaliation) is preparing an upcoming martial-arts science-fiction flick called Jiu Jitsu, with Nicolas Cage in the lead. The film, which is based on the comic book of the same name written by Logothetis and Jim McGrath, will be shot entirely on the island of Cyprus. This is the first international production to land on the island since the announcement of the Cyprus cash rebate scheme last October.

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In the story, every six years, a group of jiu-jitsu fighters have to face an alien invader in order to protect the Earth’s future. When Jake Barnes, a war hero and master jiu-jitsu fighter, suddenly refuses to fight against Brax, the leader of the invaders, the future of humankind is placed in jeopardy. To make things worse, Jake has been suffering from amnesia after an injury, and is captured by an alien military squad. A team of jiu-jitsu fighters, led by the legendary Wylie, will try to rescue the hero in order to enable him to take part in an epic battle against Brax to save the planet.

Cage, who is on a hot streak of taking on edgy roles, such as recently in Panos Cosmatos’ horror Mandy [+see also:
film profile
, and in Sion Sono’s upcoming Prisoners of the Ghostland and the HP Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space, will breathe life into Wylie. Actor-stuntman Alain Moussi, who previously headlined Logothetis’ Kickboxer franchise, will play the role of Jake. The rest of the cast includes Frank GrilloRick Yune, Greek-Canadian actress Marie Avgeropoulos and the “female Bruce Lee” JuJu Chan.

Produced by Martin J Barab and Logothetis, the budget for Jiu Jitsu stands at €24.6 million, with the shoot starting in early June and lasting for two months. Most of the filming will take place in Nicosia and, more precisely, on the premises of CyprusExpo, which will be adapted to serve as a film studio. LA-based Highland Film Group is handling the worldwide sales.

This is the first international production on the island since the cash rebate scheme of up to 35% was announced in October and was subsequently officially implemented in February, when the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (Invest Cyprus) was given exclusive responsibility for strengthening the audiovisual industry and was appointed as the chair of the Incentive Plan Application Committee (EASO). Typically, the agency announced that Cyprus’s film industry would be dubbed “Olivewood”, with Jiu Jitsu being the first production to be made under this moniker.

Invest Cyprus stated: “This development is crucial for the growth of the Cypriot audiovisual industry, but also for the Cypriot economy as a whole, since it is a significant investment with multiple benefits that will promote our country worldwide.” It’s worth noting that according to the agency, five more international film projects have applied to take advantage of the incentive plan, and the titles will be announced soon.

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