It was back in August when news first dropped that Ken Watanabe would be leading a Japanese samurai remake of Clint Eastwood’s multiple Oscar winning Western, Unforgiven. Approximately 17 seconds after the news broke, just about every producer and director in Hollywood all simultaneously thought to themselves “Damn. Why didn’t I think of that?”
If there has ever been a better idea and casting for a remake of a classic, then I simply haven’t heard of it. Since that news broke, we haven’t seen/heard much, but with the production’s two month shooting schedule just about wrapping up, we finally get a proper look at the film. And you’ll be falling off your horse over how good it looks.
Titled Yurusarezaru Mono (A Thing That Can’t Be Forgiven), the film will be directed by Hula Girls director Lee Sang-il and will be set in 1880 on the island of Haikkado after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, as Japan is starting to move away from the old traditions to adopt more modern and western ways of life. Watanabe will play a samurai, still holding onto the old ways, but who is living in poverty as he tries to escape a violent past. That all changes though when he accepts one final job as a bounty killer.
Besides for Watanabe in the Eastwood role, the film boasts veteran Japanese actors Akira Emoto and Koichi Sato playing the Morgan Freemand and Gene Hackman roles, respectively.
The film is certainly looking gorgeous, with the image of Watanabe sitting astride his horse, tilting his hat, just looking right. Like it was always meant to be. Which in a way it was. Akira Kurosawa’s samurai classic Yojimbo was the partial inspiration for Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, and Eastwood’s character in that film heavily informed William Munney, the lead character in Unforgiven, which has now spawned its own samurai remake. A full circle of gunslinging, sword slicing life.
There’s no official release date set yet for Yurusarezaru Mono but Warner Bros are envisaging a release in the third quarter of 2013.