Cage And Rourke Head For Marble City

With Azumi director Ryuhei Kitamura

This morning's other Mickey Rourke story sees him teaming up with Nicolas Cage for the action revenge noir Marble City. Director Ryuhei Kitamura promises "vengeance on a road filled with rage, bullets and ultra-violence," in a mash-up of Drive and Kill Bill. Drive Angrier, anyone?

Marble City is one of those screenplays that's been knocking around Hollywood for years. Way back in 2006 it was being prepped as a vehicle for DMX, before he left and was replaced by Ving Rhames. The director at that time was going to be Jim Vickers, a stunt coordinator on movies like Mr & Mrs Smith and Hancock (he was also, alarmingly, "kidnap consultant" on Borat). Since the film failed to come together at that time, Vickers has still yet to make his directorial debut, although he recently shot second unit on The Legends Of Nethiah.

Kitamura, who's bagged the job this time around, made the Clive Barker adaptation The Midnight Meat Train (with Vinnie Jones), Toho's Godzilla: Final Wars, and, most recently, the horror-thriller No One Lives, with Luke Evans. But he's probably best known for 2003's teen-assassin-in-Feudal-Japan manga adaptation Azumi, which won him film festival prizes in Boston and Philadelphia, and scored Japanese Academy Awards for its star Aya Ueto.

"Ryuhei's vision of action filmmaking is truly unique," gushes Stealth Media's Jason Piette. "We look forward to a high octane, smart action picture."

Producer Jeremy Wall meanwhile, promises "high action and close combat," and calls Cage and Rourke "The highest calibre of actor in the business."

We'll look forward to seeing what sort of zen wizard philosophy Cage brings to the role of Rune (no, really), a just-paroled jailbird out for revenge on the betrayer who cost him ten years in clink. Unless, as a bit of a change-up, it's Rourke that's playing Rune and Cage will be essaying a rare turn as a villain.

The screenplay is by Thomas Sjolund, and shooting is scheduled to start in early August.