Anyone who complains that all Hollywood does nowadays are sequels and remakes should think before they start to rant. Sequels and remakes are not exclusive to Hollywood (Bollywood anyone) and it’s been a tried-and-true practice both inside and outside the glitzy confines of Hollywood. Sergio Leone took classic Kurosawa samurai films and remade them into the classic spaghetti Westerns which made Clint Eastwood a household name (pre-RNC chair).
Now Japan is looking to take one of the best Westerns of the past quarter-century in Eastwood’s own critically-acclaimed and award-winning Unforgivenand remake it as a samurai film set in 188′s Japan. The film will star Ken Watanabe in the same role Eastwood had in his film with fellow actors Akira Emoto and Koichi Sato rounding out the cast. The remake will have the title of Yurusarezaru-mono and will closely follow the same story of Eastwood’s film with just changes in location and other cultural changes.
The film will be directed by award-winning Korean filmmaker See Sang-il and should see a release date sometime around 2013.
I, for one, am looking forward to see how this remake will turn out. Jidaigeki (samurai period films) have seen a resurgence in Japanese cinema these past couple years and it’s going to be interesting to see how one of Eastwood’s Western masterpieces will turn out as a samurai drama. Fans of both genres have a mutual understanding that the Western and the samurai films share similar themes and character traits so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Unforgiven will be remade into a samurai. What is a surprise is that Japan took twenty years to decide to do it.