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Magnificent Seven remake gets a director, Samurai 7 gets a musical treatment, Hulu gets a samurai weekend

The Magnificent SevenFollowing a somewhat busy start to the month, here are some more small Akira Kurosawa related news stories that have emerged in the past few days.

The forthcoming remake of The Magnificent Seven, based on Kurosawa’s original Seven Samurai, has reportedly found its director and new leading man. Variety reports that Antoine Fuqua, perhaps best known for the Oscar winning Training Day, has stepped in to take the helm of the production, and although Tom Cruise was originally announced as leading the seven samurai cowboys in the new version, he no longer seems to be attached to the project, and Fuqua will instead be bringing Denzel Washington with him, whose performance of course won the Oscar for Training Day, and who also leads Fuqua’s latest, The Equalizer. Fuqua has actually been rumoured as the director for some weeks now, but it now seems official. The script was earlier reported to have been updated first by John Lee Hancock and later Nic Pizzolatto.

With this news, combined with the recent news about the remake of Seven Samurai directed by Rob Letterman and the Hateful Eight film by Quentin Tarantino, you would be forgiven to think that this might be the full extent of Seven Samurai adaptation related news for this week, or perhaps even the whole of September. But you would be wrong, for news have come from Japan today via Animeanime.jp that the 2004 anime Samurai 7 will be resurrected in the form of a stage musical. The official website (in Japanese) lists a January 2015 opening at The Galaxy Theatre (天王洲 銀河劇場) in Tokyo. The original anime was produced by Kurosawa Production and based on Seven Samurai. We have discussed the anime a couple of times over the years, with lawless’s take probably the most comprehensive.

If that’s not enough samurai news for you for today, let me also mention that if you are in the US or can make US website believe that you are in the US, Hulu.com together with Criterion is running an Unknown Samurai weekend which, while not featuring any Kurosawa films, has a number of related works available for free. These include Sadao Yamanaka’s Humanity and Paper Balloons which was a big influence on Kurosawa, as well as Kazuo Mori’s Vendetta of a Samurai starring Toshiro Mifune, Kihachi Okamoto’s Kill! starring Tatsuya Nakadai, and Umetsugu Inoue’s The Third Shadow Warrior, which features a plot similar to our this month’s film club title, Kurosawa’s Kagemusha.

Finally, let me also throw in a recent article by Acting-Out Politics, which briefly discusses Kurosawa’s Dodesukaden from the starting point that it “depicts and examines the conditions of life and of the human soul in today’s urban civilization” and “questions the expediency of technological orientation of today’s civilization which condemns human life to fruitless nomadism … and neurotic restlessness and makes human dreams escapist and mentally disturbed”. Enjoy the read!


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