Ken Watanabe to star in Japanese Unforgiven remake


Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven is turning Japanese, with Ken Watanabe in the lead. The remake is titled Yurusarezaru Mono and is set in Northern Japan in the 1880s. Director Lee Sang-Il (Villain) is at the helm, with Akira Emoto and Koichi Sata as co-stars. Yurusarezaru Mono begins production in Hokkaido in the fall. Full disclosure: I declined a starring role in the film to start a samurai-themed donut shop (Yojimdonuts aka Akira Crullersawa); I was replaced as manager by Christoph Waltz.

Samurai movies and westerns have cross-influenced each other for decades, of course. Two seminal westerns were remakes of seminal jidaigeki/chambara films — The Seven Samurai became The Magnificent Seven, Yojimbo became A Fistful of Dollars. It should be noted that Yojimbo was inspired by John Ford westerns and a film adaptation of Dashiell Hammet’s The Glass Key. Many have also cited Hammett’s Red Harvest as an influence on Yojimbo.

I’m looking forward to this since I love both westerns and samurai movies. In fact, taking westerns and remaking them as samurai films is a pretty cool idea. I mentioned a while back that I would’t mind Lone Wolf and Cub as a western if someone tried it, and I think a lot could be done with a samurai Wild Bunch. Blending the genres is fun as well, and perhaps a new riff on the Toshiro Mifune/Charles Bronson film Red Sun may be in order.

[Via /Film]

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.