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"Warrior" Bringing MMA Back to the Silver Screen

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Entertainment trade paper Variety is reporting that director Gavin O'Connor has signed on with Lionsgate Films to direct and produce Warrior, "a mixed-martial-arts saga about two estranged brothers on a collision course to fight in a tournament for the heavyweight championship" which he also co-wrote. (Huh, sounds kinda familiar...)

Some more interesting bits via Movieweb:

The director conceived the drama as a potential trilogy, and Lionsgate will also be involved in a mixed-martial-arts tournament dubbed Sparta that will be launched in connection with the movie.

O'Connor has partnered in the 16-man grand prix tourney project with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, who will play himself in the film.

Casting for Warrior has begun, which is set to shoot January in Mexico and Pittsburgh.

Given that the two most recent big screen MMA films -- David Mamet's Redbelt and tweener fare Never Back Down -- were somewhat wide of the mark, this news might not exactly seem like cause for celebration. However, in addition to having directed the relatively enjoyable Olympic hockey flick Miracle and upcoming Edward Norton cop drama Pride & Glory, O'Connor was also an executive producer on the outstanding 2002 Mark Kerr documentary The Smashing Machine. So maybe, just maybe, this guy knows what he's doing.