Hollywood loves cherry-picking some of the best films from Asian cinema, and giving them a western makeover that is usually more hit than miss. Spike Lee has an Old Boy adaptation currently in production, while films such as Bangkok Dangerous and The Grudge highlighted some failed attempts at making a film based on a hit property from Japan. Well, time to turn the tables then, as Ken “Inception” Watanabe is going to star in an Eastern remake of that classic western film, Unforgiven!
Time Warner Japan has given director Lee Sang-Il the green light to go ahead and create a Japanese version of the final Clint Eastwood cowboy flick, and has begun recruiting other actors to join Watanabe. Akira Emoto will take over the role played by Morgan Freeman, while Koichi Sato will be going full-bad guy with the heel turn that Gene Hackman made in the 1990 flick.
The film will still be set in 1880, but don’t expect any Japanese bandits and lawmen to be slapping leather in epic shoot-outs. Instead, Watanabe will play the part of a samurai, trying to escape his violent past, until he gets lured out for one final gig at swinging steel.
Shooting starts later this year in Hokkaido, with a release next year. And I’m damn interested to see what the final outcome is like, as Unforgiven happens to be one of my all time favourite cowboy films.
Last Updated: August 21, 2012