Hatta to pull strings on ‘Shadow Puppets’

Kayo Hatta, who helmed the Miramax release “Picture Bride,” has signed to direct the action thriller “Shadow Puppets” for Chrome Dragon Films.

Hatta and her sister, Mari Hatta, will co-write the script, which is set in Bali and features a Japanese anime-style heroine. They are currently penning the screenplay in Bali, where the pic is set and is to be shot.

The project is markedly different from “Picture Bride,” the immigrant saga which the two sisters also wrote. The pic, which won the 1994 audience award for best dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival, was a historical drama about a young Japanese woman who comes to Hawaii early this century for an arranged marriage with a plantation owner. The pic was later an official selection at Cannes.

The pic also was believed to be the first commercial dramatic feature directed and produced by an Asian-American woman. Hatta was born in Hawaii and is a second-generation Japanese American.

In contrast to “Picture Bride,” “Shadow Puppets” is described as a “fun female action thriller,” made through Chrome Dragon, the Hong Kong-based production company founded by Wayne Wang, Francis Ford Coppola and Tom Luddy. The production company was set up to specialize in edgier fare with modest budgets.

Chrome Dragon execs Julie Huntsinger and Francey Grace will produce.

Kayo Hatta and Mari Hatta were repped by Ronda Gomez of Broder Kurland Webb Uffner.

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