Cage match for Vertigo, martial arts


CANNES -- U.K. production, distribution and finance house Vertigo Films has teamed with organizers of the Cage Rage Championships to co-produce a U.K.-set movie based on the combat sport that sees unarmed mixed martial arts specialists slug it out behind bars in venues used for boxing.

The movie of the exhibition sport -- a cross between wrestling, martial arts movies and pub battles -- is to be written for the big screen by Brock Norman Brock for Vertigo Films.

Vertigo's Rupert Preston said in an interview that the movie would detail the story of a young troubled man who fights his way out of fixes and becomes a Cage Rage star.

Preston said the company had hopes that the movie could lead to a franchise being created. Versions of the sporting phenomenon that sees martial arts fighters duke it out in a centralized cage arena can be seen in more than 100 countries.

The $8 million-budgeted picture is fully bankrolled privately and will be produced by Allan Niblo and Preston of Vertigo Films and Sam Tromans and Nicola Fletcher on behalf of Cage Rage Championships.

Nick Love of Vertigo Films and Tromans will be executive producers, with Vertigo Films distributing the film in the U.K.

Preston said the company is hunting for "a young fresh director" to bring the concept to the big screen and expected to appoint a worldwide sales agent for the project "any day now."

Casting will begin shortly for the pic, which is expected to start in October in the U.K.

Mixed martial arts fighting is one of the biggest sports in the U.S., and the Cage Rage Championships is one of the world's most recognized branded sports events, rivaling Formula One and soccer.

It has been successfully unleashed in the U.K., regularly selling out the Wembley Arena and generating impressive viewing figures during its launch on Sky Sports.

Previous Vertigo Films' credits include "The Football Factory," "Dirty Sanchez" and "The Business."