Weinsteins Line Up Shanghai and Seven Samurai Remake
Today the Weinstein Company gives a faithful nod to their upcoming film The Forbidden Kingdom, the first of many projects stemming from their newly created Asian Film Fund. The fund sets aside money for "development, acquisition, financing, distribution and marketing" of Asian films and as of today, they will finance two new projects: Shanghai and a remake of Akira Kurosawa's iconic Seven Samurai. What has this world come to when remaking Seven Samurai becomes the latest Hollywood craze?!
First to the less interesting news: Shanghai will reunite 1408 alums director Mikael Halfstrom and actor John Cusack for a story "set in 1941 China." Fitting familiar faces, Gong Li (Miami Vice) and Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins) will co star. The film is scheduled to begin shooting soon for a Christmas Day release. That's about all we know right now, but you can read more on the project in this article.
Now for the WTF moment: The Weinsteins are actually going to "remake" Kurosawa's classic 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai! For those who don't know, the original story follows seven samurais who are hired by villagers to protect them from bullying bandits. The film is so classic that it's inspired a number of projects over the years, including The Magnificent Seven (1960), which itself spawned three sequels, and Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). I can see fanboys crying as I write this.
While I'm looking forward to see Jet Li and Jackie Chan fight alongside each other in Forbidden Kingdom, I cringe at what the Weinsteins might do to Seven. The film has certainly inspired many others and is paid homage to throughout the industry - including from the likes of George Lucas - but I don't think anyone has actually tried for a "remake." I hope that's a typo. No director is lined up as of yet, but apparently there are "advanced talks" taking place. Thoughts on this crazy news?