Sunday, August 10, 2008

WB Likes Tokyo's Underworld!

Warner Brothers have purchased the film rights to Robert Whiting's book, "Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Ganster in Japan." The book centers on Nick Zappetti, an Italian-American from East Harlem who was part of the U.S. occupation forces sent to Japan after World War II. Believing that Tokyo offered certain opportunities, Zappetti had a failed stint as a wrestler, participated in a fumbled diamond heist and was deported. But he returned illegally and opened a pizza joint, which in the mid-'60s became the center of Tokyo's nightlife, and for the next 15 years, he became an integral part in the yakuza's rise to power.

The production rights had recently lapsed at Dreamworks and Dan Lin VP for Warner Bros. quickly picked up the rights after being given the book on a trip to Tokyo. Warner Bros have reportedly hired Frank Baldwin who is also working on a true-crime film for Dreamworks, to adapt the book into a screenplay. Whiting the author, who still lives in Japan, has also been hired as a consultant in making the adaptation for the screen.

Gangster films generally are huge success at the box office and having a strong producer helps just a tad! Dan Lin also produced "The Departed" and is currently producing Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes." The idea that Lin produced The Departed could trigger some folks to push Martin Scorsese name into the mix of director to helm the project. Plenty more to come for sure with WB newest acquisition!

Thoughts on Tokyo Underworld? A yakuza gangster film interest you? Who should direct for Warner Bros.?