Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Origin Story Movie ‘Dead or Alive’ Coming to Netflix from ‘Narcos’ Director

February 1, 2019

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is getting its own origin story in a new film for Netflix.

Director Jose Padilha, who worked on the film ‘Elite Squad’ as well as the popular series ‘Narcos’, is set to tell the story about the roots of the grappling martial art with his movie ‘Dead or Alive’.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, ‘Dead or Alive’ will have foundations that stretch back more than 100 years following the earliest inclinations of Brazilian jiu-jitsu through Japanese martial artist Mitsuyo Maeda and the story will travel all the way to a modern day setting based on Rickson Gracie’s life.

“’Dead or Alive’ centers on two men, Mitsuyo Maeda and Rickson Gracie as the story tells an epic tale that stretches from 1800-era Japan to present day US and Japan as it focuses on two men from vastly different worlds who developed and spread a mixed martial art that became known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu”

Maeda famously traveled around the world giving demonstrations of his martial arts acumen. In 1917, Maeda traveled to Brazil where he met a 14-year old named Carlos Gracie, who became enamored with learning more about the sport. Carlos ended up as a student of Maeda and then passing along the knowledge he learned to his younger brother Helio Gracie.

The two brothers would then go onto found Gracie jiu-jitsu, which was the modern version of what is known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu today.

“This is a film with universal appeal with remarkable real-life characters,” co-producer Greg Silverman said in a statement. “Rickson Gracie is one of the greatest fighters of all time and we are honored to share his story.

“I have been an admirer of José’s for years, and we are honored he has chosen Stampede to collaborate with on ‘Dead or Alive’, and to share it with Netflix’s global audience.”

Padilha, a Brazilian director who first came to fame with his ‘Elite Squad’ movies, also directed the 2014 remake of ‘Robocop’ and then moved onto become an executive producer of the popular true crime series ‘Narcos’ on Netflix.

Now Padilha will direct ‘Dead or Alive’ as he tells the story of the roots of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the rapid expansion of the sport across the world over the past 100-plus years.