“Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam is attached to head-line in true-life Thai kick-boxing prison thriller “A Prayer Before Dawn” with Jean-Stephane Sauvaire (“Johnny Mad Dog”) on board to direct.
HanWay Films will launch worldwide sales at AFM, where “Prayer” will aim to satisfy the buyer’s appetite for commercial crossover genre fare in the vein of “Drive” and “The Raid.”
Sauvaire has started casting former prisoners who were Muay Thai champions in Thailand, where shooting will start in summer 2015. Hunnam is already in training for the Muay Thai sequences.
The film will be produced by ex-Wild Bunch exec Rita Dagher’s new company Senorita Films and Hurricane Films duo Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter, who previously optioned the material. The screenplay is by Nick Saltrese, based on the book by Billy Moore.
Pic tells the true-life story of Billy Moore’s incarceration in one of Thailand’s most barbaric prisons — Klong Prem, the notorious Bangkok Hilton. In a system where life has no value, Moore discovers the deadly martial art of Muay Thai Boxing, and begins fighting for his freedom in the ring. It is the story of a man’s descent into hell and his journey back to redemption.
Sauvaire said: “‘A Prayer Before Dawn’ is — at one and the same time — a true story, a prison drama, a survival movie, a desperate love story, and an extraordinary tale of redemption. Above all, it is a poignant and uniquely human story.”
Thorsten Schumacher, managing director of HanWay Films, added: “’A Prayer Before Dawn’ combines the visceral thrill of Thai boxing with a human story of a fight for survival in prison hell. The fact that Charlie and Jean-Stephane have already started living and breathing this film is proof of the incredible energy and sheer force the collaboration between these two will bring to the screen.”
On the big screen, Charlie most recently starred in Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak,” alongside Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska. This is his second time working with Del Toro as he previously starred in “Pacific Rim” in 2013 for Legendary/WB. In the first quarter of 2015, Hunnam will star as King Arthur in Guy Ritchie’s epic Warner Brothers’ “Knight of the Round Table” film.