From Cocaine to chokeholds, José Padilha has set his next project at Netflix. The Narcos executive producer and director will helm Brazilian jiu-jitsu film Dead or Alive for the streaming giant and co-write the script with Peter Maguire. Padilha will also produce with Greg Silverman and his Stampede banner.
Per THR, The period martial arts drama will stretch from 1800s Japan to present day US and Japan in an epic story that tells the tale of Mitsuyo Maeda and Rickson Gracie, “two men from vastly different worlds who developed and spread a mixed martial art that became known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu.”
The film will chart the origins of the martial arts technique with Maeda, who travelled from Japan taught the martial arts techniques that would become Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He went on to train famed fighter Carlos Gracie, who subsequently taught the techniques to his family — a dynasty of fighters that lasts to this day. Rickson Gracie is Carlos Gracie’s nephew, a now-retired fighter with a pristine MMA record who earned plenty of championships in his own right and is an inductee to the MMA Hall of Fame.
“This is a film with universal appeal with remarkable real-life characters,” said Silverman in a statement. “Rickson Gracie is one of the greatest fighters of all time and we are honored to share his story.” He added, “I have been an admirer of José’s for years, and we are honored he has chosen Stampede to collaborate with on Dead or Alive, and to share it with Netflix’s global audience.”
For those who only know Padilha through his work on Narcos, the Brazilian filmmaker demonstrated a knack for high-intensity action with his fantastic Elite Squad movies. He also directed the 2014 remake of Robocop starring Joel Kinnaman. Padilha executive produced both seasons of Narcos for Netflix as well as the soft reboot Narcos: Mexico, and co-created Netflix’s O Mecanismo, which is heading into its second season.