Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to Robert Whiting’s “Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan” and has hired Frank Baldwin to adapt the true-life crime novel.
The Hollywood Reporter says Dan Lin is producing via his Warners-based Lin Pictures along with veteran producers Harry and Mary Jane Ufland.
Published in 2000, the book centers on Nick Zappetti, an Italian-American from East Harlem who was part of the U.S. occupation forces sent to Japan after World War II. Believing that Tokyo offered certain opportunities, Zappetti had a failed stint as a wrestler, participated in a fumbled diamond heist and was deported. But he returned illegally and opened a pizza joint, which in the mid-’60s became the center of Tokyo’s nightlife, and for the next 15 years, he became an integral part in the yakuza’s rise to power.