Lionsgate goes for 'Knockout'

Eyes rights to Steven Soderbergh's latest project

Lionsgate is in negotiations to pick up domestic rights to "Knockout," the Steven Soderbergh spy thriller that will star mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano.

The movie, which is slated to go before cameras in February, is being financed by Relativity. Soderbergh is producing the pic with his producing partner Gregory Jacobs along with Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh. Soderbergh is forgoing his upfront salary for a stake in the movie.

Lionsgate would pick up the film through its output deal with Relativity. On the international side, the film will go through Relativity's various foreign output deals.

No date has been set, though it is conceivable the movie could be on screens by the end of the 2010.

"Knockout" is moving at the speed of a roundhouse. The deal for the making of the pic came together only in the last few weeks, with Soderbergh deciding to make the project his next vehicle after his baseball drama "Moneyball" got waylaid in June.

Casting is expected to begin shortly.

For Lionsgate, "Knockout" represents the second genre title acquisition in under a month. In mid-August the company picked up "Kick-Ass," Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Mark Millar-John Romita Jr. comic book.