Hartnett kicks in for 'Bunraku'

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Josh Hartnett has battled savage vampires in Alaska. Now the actor will be entering a new world of martial arts in "Bunraku" for indie producers Snoot Entertainment.

Although the film takes its name from a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, "Bunraku" is a live-action telling a classic story of a stranger coming to town in the tradition of spaghetti Westerns, samurai movies and gangster flicks.

Guy Moshe ("Holly") is writing and directing. Snoot's Keith Calder and Jessica Wu, Nava Levin of Picturesque Films and Ram Bergman are producing.

Hartnett will plays the Drifter, a man set on revenge who finds himself in an even bigger fight than he bargained for.

The film is set in an original universe a la "Sin City" and draws from a mixed bag of genres including puppets, origami, comic books, video games and German expressionism, according to the film's producers.

Production designer Alex McDowell ("Minority Report") is co-producing.

Producers are eyeing a spring start date in Europe.

CAA reps Hartnett and Moshe. Hartnett also is represented by attorney David Weber. Moshe also is repped by manager Travis Clark.

Hartnett's upcoming films include "I Come With the Rain" with helmer Tran Anh Hung ("The Scent of Green Papaya") and "August," which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Other films on Snoot's slate include "The Bone Orchard" and "Identity Theft."
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