Latino-themed production house Maya Entertainment has revealed that they have acquired both production and distribution rights for Paul Schrader’s “south-of-the-border” revenge-thriller The Jesuit. Schrader-the scribe responsible for Taxi Driver and director of American Gigolo-will fill both chairs for The Jesuit. Willem Dafoe, Michelle Rodriguez, Paz Vega and Manolo Cardona are set to star. In the press release, there was no mention of the previously-rumored Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood), so that’s up in the air as of now. Maya Entertainment and partner Open Window Films are praying for an early March 2011 start date.
Hit the jump for the official synopsis and a reassuring quote from Schrader.
“In The Jesuit, a man comes out of prison in south Texas: “Neto” wants only a new life, far removed from his violent past. Just when it seems he might regain his wife and ten-year old son, she is brutally murdered and the boy kidnapped. Neto must abandon his dream of happiness in an explosive return to methods that made him the most feared man in Texas, and earned him the nickname…the Jesuit.”
Sounds relatively run-of-the-mill, no? And unless Neto’s packing some fatally unhygienic holy water and a jagged cross, it’s rather difficult to grasp the gritty potential Shrader might be able to tap with an alias like ‘The Jesuit’, if any. Fortunately, Schrader is far more creative than I, and with a single brief statement vanquished my trepidation that this would be another generic, bloodshed-light revenge flick:
“I’m very excited to be working with my old friends Moctezuma Esparza and Sergio Aguero. Maya is a stone vital company and we’re eager to get this hard-edge revenge story going south of the border”.
“Hard-edge”, music to my ears. While Paul Shrader’s directorial record is far from spotless, this is the man who wrote Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ. When the mood strikes him, he knows how and where it’s artistically appropriate to sprinkle in a healthy dose of vulgarity, brutality and controversy. With material this dark and Schrader scripting, we’ll be blessed if this is one of those times.