Japan's Toei and Kadokawa Shoten Publishing are teaming to make Red Shadow, an effects-heavy ninja film based on a popular 1960s comic.

Music video and commercial director Hiroyuki Nakano is to shoot the project for a summer 2001 release, making it Toei's big film of the season. The director's 1998 feature debut SF Samurai Fiction, which put an MTV-inspired spin on the period drama genre, became a long-running art house hit.

The $8.7m film, written by Hiroshi Saito and Masatoshi Kimura, is to star Masanobu Ando (Kids Return, Railroad Man) as the head of a ninja family in the chaotic days of the Warring States period (1482-1558). Production is to start late February.