“Inferno,” produced by and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, has begun principal photography. Filming is taking place in the Mojave Desert area over an eight-week period.

Van Damme plays a drifter with a dark past who tries to save the quirky inhabitants of a small town from two rival gangs.

Directed by John G. Avildsen (“Rocky”), pic co-stars Danny Trejo as Van Damme’s best friend and Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, known for her role opposite Jackie Chan in “Mr. Nice Guy.”

The cast of town members includes Pat Morita, Larry Drake, Vincent Schiavelli, Priscilla Pointer and Robert Symonds; rounding out the cast are the evil gang members, played by Brett Harrelson, Shark Fralick, Silas Weir Mitchell and Jonathan Avildsen.

Evzen Kolar, producer of the earlier Van Damme pic “Double Impact,” and Lawrence Levy are teaming with Van Damme to produce the “Inferno.” Richard G. Murphy is co-producing the project for Kolar-Levy Prods. and Long Road Entertainment.

“Inferno,” based on a screenplay by Tom O’Rourke, is the second film to be produced by Van Damme’s Long Road Prods. The company’s first pic, “Legionnaire,” recently completed production in Morocco.

Jill Pesselnick