Jesse Eisenberg Karate Comedy ‘The Art of Self-Defense’ Sells to Bleecker Street

Imogen Poots and Alessando Nivola co-star in Riley Stearn’s film

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Bleecker Street has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the dark comedy, “The Art of Self-Defense,” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots and Alessando Nivola. The Riley Stearns film begins shooting today in Kentucky.

Eisenberg stars as a man attacked at random on the street, who trains in a local dojo as a means to defend himself from further harm. Nivola plays his coach.

There, he “uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hyper-masculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots),” according to Bleecker Street.

Stearns last film, “Faults,” starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead and received strong notices at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with an exciting filmmaker like Riley,” said Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen in a statement. “Ever since we saw his work at Sundance and SXSW we knew we wanted to be in business with him and we can’t wait to bring his original and hilarious vision to audiences around the world.”

Stearns called “The Art of Self-Defense” a “very personal film that happens to have karate in it,” in a statement. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by actors, a crew, producers and a distributor like Bleecker Street who care as deeply about the project as I do,” he added.

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The film is produced by Andrew Kortschak, Cody Ryder, Stephanie Whonsetler and Walter Kortschak. Karpen is an Executive Producer on the film.

The deal was negotiated by Kent Sanderson of Bleecker Street and Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street. CAA handled negotiations on behalf of the filmmakers.

Bleecker Street is premiering Andy Serkis’ directorial debut “Breathe” Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival.