Rialto Pictures Nabs Idris Elba Directorial Debut 'Yardie'

Courtesy of Warp Films

The gangland saga about a young Jamaican with a score to settle will receive a March U.S. release.

New York-based Rialto Pictures has picked up the U.S. rights to Idris Elba's directorial debut, Yardie.

A theatrical release for the indie centered around a Jamaican gang is set for March 15. "I'm very happy that this movie is going to get play in the States. It falls in line with a very specific Afro Caribbean experience by way of Kingston, Jamaica and East London but plays right into the heart of the universal human experience of loss and trauma," Elba said in a statement on Thursday.

Elba's acting credits include roles in The Wire, Luther, American Gangster, Thor, Avengers, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation.

Yardie, which bowed at Sundance last year and had a European premiere in Berlin, is set in 1970s Kingston, Jamaica, and 1980s London and is based on the novel by Victor Headley.

The film portrays the intertwined worlds of the Jamaican narcotics syndicates and the music industry as it follows a young courier named D, played by Aml Ameen, who seeks revenge for his brother's murder and reunites with his estranged girlfriend (Shantol Jackson) and child.

Elba directed and executive produced Yardie, which was written by Brock Norman Brock and Martin Stellman and produced by Gina Carter and Robin Gutch for Warp Films.

The film was financed by StudioCanal, the British Film Institute, BBC Films and Screen Yorkshire. The U.S. distribution deal was negotiated by Anna Marsh, executive vp international distribution at StudioCanal.