First talked about a few years ago with Samuel L. Jackson attached to star, Vengeance: A Love Story has now resurfaced with Nicolas Cage taking the lead. Harold Becker will direct from a screenplay by John Mankiewicz.
Based on a 2003 novel by Joyce Carol Oates - which goes by the rather more startling title Rape: A Love Story - the thriller involves a 30-year-old single mother called Teena, who is gang raped and left for dead, the whole ordeal witnessed by her young daughter Bethie. In the ensuing court case it's the victim who's blamed for being "provocative" and "having it coming", and her assailants are exonerated by their hotshot defence lawyer. But a Gulf War veteran policeman named Dromoor becomes her champion, meting out justice of his own devising.
Oates' sombre novel is a meditation on the after-effects of violence, told from the alternating perspectives of Teena and Bethie. The potential pitfall of the movie adaptation then, is that it becomes a more conventional thriller, shifting the focus to the man who "fixes" everything with his vigilante crusade. But we'll see...
Cage, presumably, is Dromoor, but there are no details yet of any other cast members. Becker made Taps and the Al Pacino cop drama Sea Of Love in the '80s, but has been quiet lately; his most recent films were Mercury Rising with Bruce Willis and Domestic Disturbance with John Travolta. Mankiewicz comes from TV, where he's been a writer and producer on House M.D., The Mentalist and Netflix's House Of Cards, among many other shows.
Vengeance: A Love Story comes courtesy of Hannibal Classics, who Cage was previously involved with on Mario Van Peebles' USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage, which is out in the States in May. Vengeance is due to start shooting in Atlanta in March.
Oates' novel is pubished in the UK by Atlantic.