Based on a 2003 novel by Joyce Carol Oates – which goes by the rather more startling title Rape: A Love Story – the thriller involves a 30-year-old single mother called Teena, who is gang raped and left for dead, with the whole horrific ordeal witnessed by her young daughter Bethie. In the ensuing court case it is the victim who is blamed for being provocative and 'having it coming', and her assailants are exonerated by their hotshot defence lawyer. But a Gulf War veteran and policeman named Dromoor becomes her champion, handing out justice of his own devising.
Oates' sombre novel is a meditation on the after effects of violence, told from the alternating perspectives of Teena and Bethie. The potential pitfall of the movie adaptation then, is that it becomes a more conventional thriller, shifting the focus to the man who fixes everything with his vigilante crusade. But we will see...
Cage, presumably, will play Dromoor, but there are no details yet of any other cast members. Becker previously made Taps (1981) and the Al Pacino cop drama Sea Of Love (1989), but has been somewhat quiet lately. His most recent films were Mercury Rising (1998) with Bruce Willis and Domestic Disturbance (2001) with John Travolta. Mankiewicz, meanwhile, comes from a TV background where he has been a writer and producer on House M.D., The Mentalist and Netflix's House Of Cards, among many other shows.
Vengeance: A Love Story comes courtesy of Hannibal Classics, who Cage was previously involved with on Mario Van Peebles' USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage, which arrives in the US in May. Vengeance: A Love Story is due to start shooting in Atlanta in March.
Oates' novel is published in the UK by Atlantic.