Japanese-American singer-actress Masumi will make her big screen debut opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers in “Yakuza Princess,” which has completed filming in Brazil. The Japanese-styled thriller also stars Tsuyoshi Ihara (“Letters From Iwo Jima”) and Kenny Leu (“Midway”).
“Princess” is an adaptation of a Brazilian graphic novel “Samurai Shiro” by Danilo Beyruth, in which a Japanese gang boss is killed, and his only heiress is sent abroad as a baby. Twenty years later she discovers her inheritance, and her vulnerability, and unleashes a war against her pursuers.
It is directed by Vincente Amorim, a rising star in Latin American cinema, with film credits including “Motorrad” and “The Division.”
Production is by LG Tubaldini Jr and Andre Skaf, the duo responsible for the success of Amorim’s “Motorrad” and “Divorce.” Company credits include Filmland Internacional and Twentieth Century Fox as co-producer. The film has investment from BBDTVM, and Warner Bros. Pictures attached as distributor in Latin America. An international sales agent is being sought for remaining markets.
Masumi was born in California, and studied at the Los Angeles College of Music, before beginning a music career that her seen her tour in Europe and Japan, open for Moby at NAMM, and release single “Run Baby Run.”
” ’Yakuza Princess’ is an action-packed Brazilian/Japanese/American-thriller. At the same time, it’s also a film about solitude, identity and about coming-of-age in Brazil’s biggest metropolis. It’s an adventure with samurais, ronins and a fearless heroine. Fearless as we filmmakers were when facing this challenge. A challenge up there with our boldest references,” said Amorim. Stylistically, “Princess” references “Akira,” “Logan,” “The Godfather” and the films of Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike. Shot between July and September, the film shot principally in Sao Paolo, with other scenes lensing near Brazilia and the countryside, at Paranapiacaba.
Meyers is best known for Woody Allen’s “Match Point,” Harald Zwart’s “The 12th Man” and for the TV shows “Vikings” and “The Tudors.” He earned a Golden Globe Award for the mini-series “Elvis.”
“We are seeing the genre universe going mainstream. Every year we have a “nerd” film wining an important award in a big film festival, and a geek movie conquering the box office,” said Tubaldini. “We truly believe in producing genre movies out of the big centers, going to distant places like the countryside of Brazil or Tokyo to find the talent and the elements to produce content for a wider audience with a special flavor!”