In 1960, director John Sturges took Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, changed time and location, and fashioned it into the classic western we know as The Magnificent Seven. Today, we have come full circle.
Variety is reporting that the Japanese arm of Warner Bros. is opting to take Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Best Picture Academy Award Winner and make samurai soup of it. Indeed, director Lee Sang-il is taking the ol’ Sturges approach and putting together a samurai-themed Unforgiven, a film that’ll star Ken Watanabe in the Eastwood role:
Watanabe plays a samurai with a fearsome reputation as a swordsman who is living in retirement with his Ainu wife when poverty and a large bounty tempt him into action again.
Eastwood himself shot to stardom in a remake of a Japanese film: Sergio Leone’s 1964 “A Fistful of Dollars,” which was based on the 1961 Akira Kurosawa samurai swashbuckler, “Yojimbo.”
Here’s a remake we can get excited about. I love the back and forth between these two genres of similar themes. And we’ve Westernized so many great Asian films that I’m surprised projects like this one are so rare. Is it too much to ask to also see a Japanese samurai remake of Paint Your Wagon? I have a feeling Watanabe could slay a few bars of “I Talk to Trees.”
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