Thursday, February 4, 2016

Leza Lowitz & Shogo Oketani's "Jet Black and the Ninja Wind"

Leza Lowitz’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Shambhala Sun, Asian Jewish Life, and Best Buddhist Writing of 2011. She has published over seventeen books, including the APALA Award–winning YA novel Jet Black and the Ninja Wind, which she cowrote with her husband, Shogo Oketani, and the bestselling Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By.

Lowitz's new book is Up from the Sea, a novel in verse for Young Adults about the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. BuzzFeed chose the novel as one of five new YA novels you should read this January.

Here Lowitz dreamcasts an adaptation of Jet Black and the Ninja Wind, complete with some related artwork by Chris Mauch, storyboarder for Divergent, Limitless and other films:
This is a book that’s got big screen or TV series written all over it. Magic, mystery, action, and a real-life message (can you imagine?) with a multicultural, multigenerational cast, a globe-trotting story, eco-warriors, and a young bad-ass female lead who takes no shit from anyone. Plus a ninja dog. What’s not to love?

Think Blade Runner meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with a little bit of Karate Kid thrown in. And can we say we jumped out of our seats when we saw that new megabillion dollar blockbuster set in a f.f. galaxy ....Deja vu big time. The age of the female warrior has arrived!

Reese Witherspoon & Pacific Standard---we’re calling you!

JET--a ninja who doesn't know it. The last living female ninja, to be exact. Abandoned by her American father and stuck between cultures, can she become the true leader she’s destined to be?
Cast: Kiki Sukezane of NBC’s Heroes Reborn. Or Emily Kaiho.

SATOKO --Jet’s superbad mother, who left Japan after Jet’s birth and moved to a Navajo Reservation in the US, avoided capture, and trained her daughter in the secret ninja ways.
Cast: Carrie Ann Inaba, Michelle Yeoh, Phoebe Cates.

J-BIRD--Navajo elder, keeper of the flame, grizzled warrior, father figure to Jet, Satoko’s lover.
Cast: Wes Studi, Benjamin Bratt.

NEIL BLUEWOLF--J-BIRD’s friend and fellow combat vet brother.
Cast: Michael Spears, Adam Beach, Martin Sensmeir.

HIRO - teenage whip-smart kick-ass ninja. Jet’s Japanese cousin.
Cast: Seishiro Kato, Jordan Nagai, Seishiro Kato.

TAKUMI-- a happa mercenary, an assassin who’s joined the “Dark Side” for survival. Can he rekindle his honor and fight for justice rather than material gain? Can he let Jet love him, and love her back? Can he become the leader he’s destined to be?
Cast: Daniel Henney, Sam Milby, Shota Matsuda.

MASAKICHI--Jet’s grandfather. The last of the old-school ninja. Think Obi-wan Kenobi or Dumbledore. He teaches Jet and Hiro how to move like the wind and other ninja secrets that lead them to save a sacred treasure--and the future of their tribe.
Cast: George Takei, Ken Watanabe, Beat Takeshi.

SOJI-- an ultra cool, Zen priest warrior. Also an archeologist and quietly dignified badass. Jet and Hiro’s uncle.
Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Ryo Kasei.

HARTER--President and CEO of New Language Systems (NLS), treasure hunters developing their own code, a “natural computer language” based on petroglyphs. They want to capture Jet and find the treasure--yesterday.
Cast: Christopher Walken, Edward Norton (who studied Japanese at Yale), Keanu Reaves.

FUJIWARA--Businessman from an aristocratic Japanese fuedal clan who’s backing NLS to polish his clan's tarnished name.
Cast: Yuya Yagira, Yutaka Takeuchi, Kazunari Ninomiya.

ROSSI--one of Harter’s minions, junked up on power.
Cast: Tom Felton (“Draco Malfoy” in Harry Potter), Taylor Lautner.

ASKA--loyal ninja dog who can fight with the best of them.
Cast: An Akita, of course.

AKIRA--a cool, street kid punk rocker who likes to riff on his electric guitar and drive the cops just a little bit crazy.
Cast: Aramis Knight.

DR. SUZUKI, SCIENTIST. Helps Jet, Hiro and Soji find the treasure and save their clan.
Cast: Takahiro Miura, or gender change to Natalie Portman (also reportedly speaks Japanese, learned at Harvard).

Jet Black & the Ninja Wind hitting the big screen? You read about it here first....
Visit Leza Lowitz's website.

The Page 69 Test: Up From the Sea.

Coffee with a Canine: Leza Lowitz & Bingo and Memo.

--Marshal Zeringue