LOCARNO — Marianly Tejada, star of Netflix hit “One of Us Is Lying,” and Jean Jean, multi-prized for “Woodpeckers,” are attached to headline “Predicament” (“Predicamento”), an action-thriller written, produced and to be directed by Dominican Republic’s Ico Abréu. 

A step up into the mainstream, but maintaining the social issue focus of much of Abréu’s TV and experimental work of the past two decades, “Predicament” is shaping up as one of the major propositions in preparation from the Dominican Republic, thanks to its star cast, government backing, thriller propulsion and growing bevy of production partners. 

Set up at Abréu’s Santo Domingo-based iFilm, “Predicament” is currently structured as a co-production with Santo Domingo’s Estudio Quitasueño, Pulpo and Haiti’s Muska Films, behind “Kafou.” 

In development, “Predicament” has tapped Dominican Republic Film Commission Fonprocine funding. Abreu was selected to attend this year’s Deental at Cannes program, a training and workshop initiative organised by France’s CNC. 

“Predicament” turns on a principled man who, trying to help a group of orphan girls, is embroiled in human trafficking and a murder-for-hire plot. “What started as a humanitarian mission, has turned into a corpses-filled frenetic race to recover his most valuable treasure: his teenage daughter,” its synopsis reads.

“Terrible things can also happen in paradise,” Abreu told Variety. “‘Predicament’ tells a sordid story with the natural beauty of La Hispaniola island (Dominican Republic and Haiti) as a canvas. Deception, betrayal, human trafficking and exploitation; violence of all sort is rendered beautifully with the hues of the most popular destination of the Caribbean.”

Tejada’s had a recurring guest role in the “The Purge” and appeared in “Orange is The New Black,” before leaping to prominence with “One of Us Is Lying.”

Breaking out in the Sundance selected “Woodpeckers,” his first lead role which won him best actor plaudits at Guadalajara and Havana, actor-director Jean Jean has gone on to star in “Broken Island” and Cannes Un Certain Regard entry “Freyda,” 

In some of his latest work, Abreu co-produced and co-directed “Motel,” a two part movie. The first part had a theatrical release, the second part will premiere this year. Both parts will then go to platforms as a 15-episode series, he said.