10:32am PT by Borys Kit
Soccer Star Ronaldinho Joins in 'Kickboxer: Retaliation' (Exclusive)
Kickboxer: Retaliation is getting extra kicks.
Brazilian soccer star and two-time FIFA world player of the year winner Ronaldinho has joined the high-flying cast of the martial arts action movie, which is being directed by Dimitri Logothetis,
The sports figure joins several notables from the sports world — boxer Mike Tyson and UFC star Paige VanZant among them - in the movie that is currently in production.
Retaliation centers on a man (Moussi) brought forcibly back to Thailand to fend for his life against a new formidable foe, a fighter named Mongkut (portrayed by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, best known for playing Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain, on Game of Thrones).
Ronaldinho will play Ronaldo, an imprisoned expert martial arts kicker who shows Moussi how to refine his deadly kick.
Rob Hickman is producing the movie while Larry Nealy and Steven Michael Swadling of Our House Films are executive producing.
Retaliation is the second installment in a trilogy reboot of the hit action film Kickboxer. Kickboxer: Vengeance, which stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dave Bautista as well as Moussi, will be released this fall.
Ronaldinho is being hired not just for his athletic ability but for his untapped marketing power.
“As producers, much like advertisers and brands, we must look at a potential star’s total value,” said Hickman. “In addition to his charisma, Ronaldinho also brings with him 66 million social media followers from all parts of the globe. Those numbers are an element that a lot of traditional movie stars can’t offer and when we market the film, is something that will be invaluable.”
June 1, 11:40 AM: updated to correct that Jean-Claude Van Damme, Gina Carano and Dave Bautista are not in Kickboxer: Retaliation but only star in Kickboxer: Vengeance.