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Runaway Train (Kurosawa’s Original Script)

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    Christopher

    Is this available anywhere online to read? I would like to know how different it is from the 1985 Konchalovsky film, and if there is any chance this might be (re)made – much like “The Sea Is Watching”, “Dora-Heita”, and “After the Rain” – using the original script.

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    Vili Maunula

    The Akira Kurosawa Digital Archive used to have a digital copy of the original Japanese script, but unfortunately the archive has since closed. I don’t think the English translation has been circulating

    It would definitely be interesting to see someone film the original script!

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    Christopher

    I wonder who he would have cast in the film if it had been made in 1967 or so? I’m thinking Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood or Steve McQueen would have been good. Eastwood and McQueen owed their stardom largely to remakes of Kurosawa’s films anyway, so that would have been nice to see the favor returned. This is the one unmade film by Kurosawa that really pains me, because he was at the height of his powers at the time and I think it would have been quite a film.

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    Vili Maunula

    I wonder who he would have cast in the film if it had been made in 1967 or so?

    Stuart Galbraith IV (page 445) mentions Variety as having reported at the time that Lee Marvin would likely have played Manny, while Henry Fonda was attached to play Charlie, a character who I think became Sara in Konchalovsky’s version. I haven’t seen mention of who would have appeared in the role of Buck.

    While those names are magazine speculation, the cast must certainly have been selected since Kurosawa cancelled the production so late in pre-production. Hiroshi Tasogawa (page 52) writes that this happened on November 15 1966, only a month before the planned start of shooting. The American producers had already scheduled a 40-day shoot and assembled a crew of 130, including the two-time Oscar winner Haskell Wexler as the cinematographer. The cast announcement was apparently “imminent”, but Tasogawa doesn’t mention or speculate who might have been revealed as the leads.

    Kurosawa’s late career could definitely have been very different had this film been made successfully. Its a pity we never got to see how it would have turned out.

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