A couple of Akira Kurosawa related news stories have been circulating the interwebs these past few days.
First of all, remember that Seven Samurai remake that the The Weinstein Company is working on? Yeah, me neither really, as it’s been on and off, but mainly off, the news for almost ten years now. But apparently it’s on again, as the news come via The Tracking Board that Rob Letterman of Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens and Gulliver’s Travels fame has been attached to direct the feature. Letterman therefore replaces Scott Mann at the helm, who was previously reported as the director.
The news doesn’t specify whether Letterman will be working from the previous drafts written by Scott Marshall Smith and John Fusco. There is also some speculation whether the remake may now actually be an animated feature rather than a live action film, considering Letterman’s pedigree with animated films.
Speaking of the Weinsteins, Variety reports that Quentin Tarantino‘s next film, the possibly-Kurosawa-inspired (but perhaps not) western The Hateful Eight will also be produced and distributed by The Weinstein Company. This, of course, is probably not much of a surprise considering that Tarantino has worked with the Weinsteins throughout his career. Interestingly, the report also notes that Tarantino will be shooting the feature on nothing less than 65mm film. The story, apparently, is set in Wyoming and focuses on people trapped after a snow storm forces a stagecoach off its route. Shooting starts in January.
Finally, and again via Variety, comes the news that the Japanese-American director Steven Okazaki is working on a high profile documentary film on Toshiro Mifune. Titled Mifune: Last Samurai, the film will feature rare archive footage and new interviews, and will concentrate primarily on Mifune’s samurai films. Principal photography will start this September, which probably means a release next year.