Making quite a surprising move in sparking a new project, Universal Pictures is on its way to develop "Shinobi", a remake to the 2005 Japanese action hit of which rights it has successfully obtained from Shociku, the company producing the movie based on Futaro Yamada's novel "The Kouga Ninja Scrolls."
In working on the project, the studio has already appointed Max Makowski to both pen and direct with Circle of Confusion and Spitfire Pictures producing. Makowski, whose latest big screen work was action comedy "One Last Dance", is said to begin working on the script immediately in hopes it can begin production early next year, infusing the film with elements from Asian gangster and ninja genres.
As for the story, while the original pitted two rival ninja clans against each when members from each fall in love, Makowski reportedly will modernize the Romeo-and-Juliet premise and change the setting to Hong Kong. There, the victor of a 160-year-old feud between two multinational security forces is being decided, with a love affair complicating matters.
In related news, it is also reported that Universal has tapped Henry Bean to write and direct another of its new big screen project, "Down by the River." An adaptation of the Charles Bowden novel, pic centers on a 1995 murder in El Paso, Texas that was originally believed to be the result of a botched carjacking, but was later tied to the work of the victim's brother who busts drug runners for the Drug Enforcement Administration.