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A Whole Bunch of Akira Kurosawa Remakes Could Be Coming Soon

by
August 23, 2011
Source: Variety

Akira Kurosawa

If you were upset about the Weinstein Company's forthcoming remake of the classic film Seven Samurai from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, well, you may want to sit down for this. A company called Splendent Media has just picked up the remake rights to no less than 69 titles from the director. The properties include 26 of the films Kurosawa directed such as Rashomon, Yojimbo, Dreams, Kagemusha and plenty more. The deal also includes 24 films he wrote but did not direct, and 19 screenplays that never made it in front of a camera. Honestly, the latter portion of this news doesn't sound bad. More info below.

Variety notes that the deal does not include other Kurosawa projects already in development like the aforementioned Seven Samurai remake, and updates of High and Low, Drunken Angel and Ikiru. For the full list of films in the package, check out Splendentmedia.com. While I'm wholly opposed to remaking Kurosawa's classic films, like any filmmaker, not every film was an absolutely masterpiece. Obviously there's a chance that a remake of any films from Kurosawa's career could turn out to be pretty damn good.

However, I'm most interested in seeing those 19 unproduced screenplays come to life. It would be great if a big name director took on a script from Akira Kurosawa, and it sounds like there's definitely interest as Hideyoshi Kato, execution committee president of rights-holder Akira Kurosawa 100 Project, says, "In recent years, countless American and European filmmakers have expressed intense interest in remaking Kurosawa's films." Personally, I'd like to know which filmmakers are interested, and that might make me feel better about any forthcoming remakes. How about you?

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  • Gouka Ryuu
    I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this. While I abhor the thought of a remake of Rashomon or The Seven Samurai, I must admit that Ethan here is right that not all of a director's work is a masterpiece, Kurosawa included. Hell, many people say the Magnificent Seven is a good movie that keeps the premise and spirit of the original while still being able to go off and do its own thing. If the remakes are like that and not just trying to do the same things with the same name maybe I would be okay with it. But, yeah, I would probably rather see those screenplays that were never used made into films than more remakes.
  • http://rworks.org R W O
    reaction to this news: FACEPALM. I wonder when the Japanese remake all Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock's films or anything classic from Hollywood. That is awesome!
  • Have Hope
    ha!
  • Armeetapus16
    NOT 'DREAMS' ANYTHING BUT THAT!!! Unless its just different stories done in the same style as 'Dreams'. Kinda like a spiritual sequel, I'd be cool with that.
  • happy camper
    Kurosawa is rolling over in his grave. Film is dead. Remake everything. The Godfather remake is coming sooner or later!
    • Anonymous
      Hmmm....well, he should have started rolling over when THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was made. While the thought of these remakes does trouble me, it would do all of us well to remember that some of Kurosawa's films have _already_ been remade, and not just by some standard-issue evil Hollywood machine.  YOJIMBO has been remade.  Remember LAST MAN STANDING? A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS?  KAZE NO YOJIMBO?  Well, that last one was an anime, so I don't think it's as well known. And of course, SAMURAI SEVEN, an anime series based on THE SEVEN SAMURAI (but made with--and this is important--the approval of the Kurosawa estate). Of course, if any films are remade, it doesn't mean that the original will simply vanish.  That's just a load of bull.  And no one's holding a gun to your head demanding, "Watch this film, b***h!!" Caterwauling about the end of movies and the lack of vision in Hollywood  sounds great and all, but people have been doing it for years.  And they've been remaking films for years as well. Just my 2-cents.
  • Loser
    Yojimbo was remade as A fistful of dollars and Last man standing with Bruce Willis and don`t remember the rest. Would love for Scorsese to take on one of his scripts though
    • Anonymous
      And there was also the anime "Kaze no Yojimbo" as well.  Good call on those two--and I don't seem to remember people whining about how AFOD was a remake and that it would somehow tarnish the original YOJIMBO.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9emWB_rrMt0 Crapola
    Who did Lucas rip-off for parts of Star Wars? Wasn't that a famous Japanese film director? Don't do it. I meet folk who are writing scripts all the time for original films, is Hollywood that scared of originality?
    • Big Boss
      They are PETRIFIED of it.
  • Lando
    I don't believe most of his films even NEED updating (they are classic for a reason), but I wouldn't mind a remake of lets say something like "SCANDAL" it would be perfect for todays TMZ obsessed culture and still carries the same weight. I am excited at the idea of seeing his unproduced screenplays getting taken on by REAL DIRECTORS! that would be great to see! sorta like seeing speilberg taking on Kubricks "AI"... Armeetapus16: I dont think they could really "remake" DREAMS, they were all his dreams and represented something personal..a retelling of the same story would just be too...false? then again..its 2011..
  • Lebowski
    I don't know about you guys, but I am extremely excited by this news. And why should we stop with just rooting around in Kurosawa's grave? There are a bunch of great Japanese directors whose work is just lying around, waiting to be compromised. Bring on Brett Ratner's adaptation of Yasujiro Ozu's 1953 masterpiece Tokyo Story!
  • Boiler Bro Joe
    Meh, I'm not upset - I'd would just be totally uninterested in seeing remakes of any of these movies.  Some of them are just way too historically specific - like "Sanshiro Sugata", "The Quiet Duel", "One Wonderful Sunday" and "No Regrets for Our Youth".  And how the heck would you remake "The Most Beautiful"??  I love Kurosawa, but that was war propaganda, straight up.  To me, his films are fascinating because of the moments in which they were produced.  Of course many of his stories are timeless, (as previous remakes have gone to show), but I wouldn't be interested in yet another Seven Samurai or Yojimbo.  The only remake I could see myself being intrigued by is "The Bad Sleep Well"... As for unproduced screenplays - THAT is an idea I'm all for.  However, I'd be much more interested in them as Japanese productions in the hands of a Yoji Yamada or Kore-eda.

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