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WB nabs rights to ‘Ronin’

White to direct live-action feature

After turning the Frank Miller graphic novel “300” into a hit, Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to Miller’s “Ronin” to adapt into a live-action feature.

Sylvain White (“Stomp the Yard”) will direct.

In the story, a ronin, or disgraced samurai warrior, bears the shame of allowing his master to be assassinated by a shape-shifting demon in 13th century Japan. When the master’s sword is unearthed in mid-21st century New York, the ronin and the demon are brought to life and battle gangs of mutants and thugs to try to take possession of the mythical sword.

The graphic novel was published by DC Comics.

Pic will be produced by Gianni Nunnari and Nick Wechsler, with Craig Flores exec producing. Nunnari and Flores, who are partners in Hollywood Gang, were producers on “300.” Miller will be an exec producer as well.

“Ronin” will be shot in a fashion similar to that employed for “300,” in which blue- and green-screen lensing was done on a Montreal soundstage to create an ancient Greece battleground for a $65 million film. Costs are comparable for “Ronin,” making the film a big step up for White, who graduated from directing videos to helming the film “Stomp the Yard” at a cost of around $14 million.

“Ronin” is “one of Frank Miller’s earliest and best graphic novel creations, one that has long been a cult graphic novel,” White told Daily Variety. “There is a classic good-evil struggle between the samurai and the demon.”

While White has several development projects percolating, he said that “Ronin” is his top priority.

“This is the one I’d like to do next, because I’m so passionate about it,” he said.

WMA is negotiating his deal.

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