File this under badass projects that I had no idea were happening. I guess the news of a samurai remake of Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” made the rounds nearly a year ago, and I either glossed over it or missed it completely. Now a few trailers and a poster for the film have surfaced and, well, I’m totally on board.
Westerns and samurai films have a special bond. “Yojimbo” and “Seven Samurai” were remade as “A Fistful of Dollars” and “The Magnificent Seven” respectively. But now it’ll go the other direction as David Webb Peoples’s screenplay (which was originally called “The Cut-Whore Killings” and “The William Munny Killings”) will be remade as a Samurai film.
The film is directed by Lee Sang-il and stars Ken Watanabe in the Munny role. There’s a lot of promise in something like this. I know everyone has remake-itis but this is something I’d love to see, personally. The story takes place in 1880 at the start of the Meiji period in Japan. Watanabe plays a feared former swordsman of the fallen Edo shogunate. He takes up bounty hunting in the years after his wife, who transformed him from a life of killing, has passed away.
Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven,” which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, was nominated for nine Oscars. It won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman) and Best Film Editing and is, in my mind, one of the absolute gems of the genre.
Watanabe starred in Eastwood’s 2005 Oscar nominee “Letters from Iwo Jima.”
Check out the new Japaense trailer for the remake below, as well as a side-by-side comparison between the two films’ posters.
“Unforgiven (Yurusarezaru mono)” is set for release in Japan on September 13. I want to see it.