Jesse Eisenberg’s ‘Art of Self-Defense’ Lands at Bleecker Street

Bleecker Street has bought worldwide distribution rights to Riley Stearns’ dark comedy “The Art of Self-Defense,” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, and Alessandro Nivola.

Principal photography begins Monday in Kentucky. The film is written and directed by Stearns (“Faults”), and produced by End Cue.

Eisenberg plays a man who is attacked on the street and enlists in a dojo — led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei (Nivola) — in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence, hypermasculinity, and a woman — played by Poots — fighting for her place in it.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with an exciting filmmaker like Riley,” said Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen. “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.”

“This is a very personal film that happens to have karate in it,” Stearns said.

The movie is produced by Andrew Kortschak, Cody Ryder, Stephanie Whonsetler, and Walter Kortschak. Karpen is an executive producer on the film.

Eisenberg will next be seen as villain Lex Luthor in “Justice League” in November.

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.

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