Netflix is developing what it hopes could be its next big action franchise.
The streamer has picked up the rights to Marc Olden’s Black Samurai novels, with the intent of adapting the material into film.
John Schoenfelder and Russell Ackerman, who produced the 2021 supernatural horror movie Séance and Jeremy Saulnier’s gritty thriller, Hold the Dark, will produce.
No writer is attached.
Olden, who died in 2003, was a Edgar Award-nominated writer who in the 1970s wrote eight pulpy novels that told of Robert Sand, a American soldier Japan who learns the ways of the most powerful martial arts and becomes The Black Samurai. The first novel saw him embarking on a mission of vengeance. The other tomes were globe-trotting thrillers that featured power-mad millionaires, black-market warheads, pimps, voodoo priests and a solid gold katana, plus a not-infrequent level of casualties.
The hero was previously brought to the screen during the height of Hollywood’s blaxploitation genre in the 1970s. Jim Kelly, who appeared opposite Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and went on to star in movies such as Three the Hard Way, portrayed the hero in a 1977 that was directed by Al Adamson and was a mélange of material.
Diane Crafford and Liza Fleissig are executive producing the new project.
Action movies have proven to be a most reliable engine for Netflix. with the genre being popular domestically and internationally. Extraction, which starred Chris Hemsworth, and Spenser Confidential, with Mark Wahlberg, are among the most watched titles at the streamer and are launching sequels. Samurai is ripe to act as a vehicle for an actor as well as potential franchise starter.
Olden estate properties are repped by CAA as well as Fleissig and Ginger Harris-Dontzin of Liza Royce Agency.