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An Akira Kurosawa remake roundup

Since many of you can’t probably keep up with all the Kurosawa remakes that are happening at the moment, I decided to compile a list of titles in planning or production right now. The films are listed in an approximate order of release.

Ikiru: A made-for-TV remake by TV Asahi, which may in fact already have aired has in fact already aired. Matsumoto Koshiro IX has stepped into Takashi Shimura’s shoes for the main role, and the story has been adapted to take place in the present day. Shooting wrapped in May, and the film was reportedly going to air “sometime this autumn” aired earlier this autumn. The official website can be found at TV Asahi, where you can also buy the DVD.

High and Low: Similarly to the above-mentioned Ikiru, TV Asahi announced last spring that it was working on a TV remake of High and Low. As with Ikiru, the story has apparently been brought from post-war Japan to the present day. The story has also been written to happen in Hokkaido. Written and directed by Yasuo Tsuruhashi, and starring Koichi Sato, Hiroshi Abe, Kyoka Suzuki and Ken Watanabe’s model daughter Anne Watanabe, this production may have already aired, as it was supposed to be shown “sometime this autumn” aired earlier this autumn. Its website can be found here, where you can also buy the DVD.

Sanjuro: Having its Japanese release on the 1st of December, this Yoshimitsu Morita remake of Sanjuro (with its Japanese title Tsubaki Sanjuro) has been much discussed here. Posters, trailers and other information can be found from the official website (which has by the way been updated — what’s with all the bling?). The full cast and crew listings are available at IMDb. While at least some of us have kept their hopes up that the release might turn out to be at least watchable, the early indications from trailers and posters seem to suggest that Yuji Oda is not Toshiro Mifune however hard he tries, and that the comedy in the film is far less subtle and unrefined than in the original. It shall be seen whether these fears turn out to be justified, or is it all just a case of a very poorly executed marketing campaign…

The Hidden Fortress: Shooting from November 2007, release in Japan on May 10, 2008. Directed by Shinji Higuchi, starring Jun Matsumoto, Masami Nagasawa, Hiroshi Abe and Daisuke Miyagawa. Penned by Kazuki Nakashima. One of the peasants, rather than the general, has reportedly been made the story’s protagonist.

Seven Samurai: A much-rumoured Hollywood remake by the Weinstein Company. and Kurosawa Production. The latest we know is that the movie might be called Seventh Samurai (although the IMDb page lists it as The Seven Samurai), and that directors Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) and Wayne Kramer (The Cooler, Running Scared, Crossing Over) are allegedly being considered to helm the production. Earlier this year, John Fusco, known for writing a number of westerns including Young Guns, Thunderheart Hidalgo, was mentioned as being working on the screenplay. Donnie Yen and Zhang Ziyi are meanwhile reported to be in front of the camera, with early rumours also suggested involvement from George Clooney. Take everything with a grain of salt.

Ikiru: Earlier this year rumours circulated that Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot) would be considering directing a remake of Ikiru. Nothing has been heard of the project since.

Did I miss something?


Discussion

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deconstruct

Oh, I didn’t know about Hidden Fortress! Is that one a direct remake? It doesn’t sound like it based on the description.

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Vili Maunula

I don’t really know how much it will differ from the original, but as noted above they (claim to) have changed the main character. To be honest, I’m not so sure if the general is necessarily the main character even in Kurosawa’s version — the story is certainly told through the peasant duo.

The reason why you hadn’t heard about this before is probably that I wrote about it just before I wrote this post. 🙂

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Jeremy Quintanilla

Personally I really wish they wouldnt make any Kurosawa remakes, kinda of cheapens the original films in the process. The possible seven samurai remake sounds the most horrifying of them all.

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deconstruct

Oops! I should have read the rest of the news. Thanks!

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Kaleb Korger

They are remaking Seven Samurai again!

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Vili Maunula

Who are?

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Kaleb Korger

Kaleb Korger.

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deconstruct

Hi – I think this is the site for the High and Low remake. Sorry if this has been mentioned before. Looks like it aired in September and is now on DVD.
http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/tengoku/

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deconstruct

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Vili Maunula

Thanks a lot for the links, Deconstruct! I don’t think anyone had mentioned them yet, or at least I wasn’t aware of them.

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Jeremy Quintanilla

I came back from Japan a few days ago and the advertisement for Sanjuro was just starting.
We I first got there I saw only one advertisement at Kanda station in Tokyo(picture in the link).
Shortly before I left similar bench advertisements where in nearly all JR stations of Tokyo(one also spotted at JR Osaka station), just like the one in the link and another similar one but with Sanjuro in the center and a few minor character in the backdrop. Also I started to see large movie posters been hung on advertisement areas of Tokyo, basically like the picture I posted, none where of the early posters that we have seen before, which is properly a good thing:).

I also watch a roughly 8min long story on the new movie on NHK news, although I could only understand part of what they where saying, it was mostly a visual piece.
From the many scenes they showed, all the major scenes where exactly the same as Kurosawa’s version, down to the face expressions that Mifune did. In fact some of Kurosawa’s version where even showed side by side. This really bothered me, I think any fan of the movie will find this a huge distraction as you cant help but count down to the pending horrible attempt of the new version’s actor at coping Mifune.

However I dont think it is a direct copy, as many scenes where not in Kurosawa’s version although brief I am willing to bet they are used to shorting the film by summing up events and also used to help modernize the film for a younger audience.

I was hoping to stick around for the theatrical opening, but I just couldnt stay that long.

I rarely had my camera with me and only bother to take one picture of the posters. I did it quickly as the station was busy so its not that great and I also forgot I had been shooting monotone so didnt remember to bring back the color to the camera.

http://www.qfilmworks.com/cp/kanda.jpg

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Jeremy’s report on Sanjuro advertising :.: Akira Kurosawa – News and Information

[…] Just a quick note for those who don’t read the comments regularly: Jeremy has just got back from Japan, and has described to us what is going on with the Sanjuro (remake) advertising. Take a look here. […]

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