“Narcos” director José Padilha to direct BJJ movie on Netflix

José Padilha, the director of the hit Netflix series “Narcos”, has signed onto his newest project: a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu film named “Dead or Alive”. He will co-write with Peter Maguire, a relatively unknown director.

Netflix is advertising the film as the saga of Mitsuyo Maeda and Rickson Gracie, beginning in 1800s Japan and spanning to present-day US and Japan. It will chronicle the creation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and its explosion into its modern incarnation. It is unclear why they’ve chosen Rickson in particular to focus on, though as a son of Helio, his part in the story promises to be fascinating. Perhaps Rickson is simply comfortable and accessible to be filmed, having made a good impression as the subject of the 1995 Robert Goodman documentary “Choke”. This could be yet another step towards greater global recognition, realizing Carlos Gracie’s dream to spread the art throughout the world.

Padilha is a Brazilian director who, along with “Narcos”, found acclaim through his “Elite Squad” movies as well as the 2014 remake of “Robocop”. He is currently the co-creator of Netflix’s Brazilian political crime drama “O Mecanismo”, which is set to launch its second season this spring.

With access to Netflix’s audience, Padilha has a chance to show the world what BJJ is all about. Let’s all hope he doesn’t screw it up.

Rachel Dows

Rachel is a 20-something year old writer and martial arts enthusiast. She works at a desk job all day to afford to be able to spend the majority of her free time at the gym, where she is a blue belt in BJJ. She also sometimes goes outside to run, hike, and enjoy living in small town USA.