It’s interesting and almost admirably that Universal would be dedicated to casting actors of genuine Japanese lineage in their epic, 3D blockbuster 47 Ronin. Then you remember that Keanu Reeves will lead the cast, and you suddenly realize just how much he’s going to stick out like a sore, Canadian thumb against all those legitimately Japanese samurai. In any event, Universal has cast several new faces in the film, and it looks like the studio is going to buck the usual Hollywood whitewashing trend, at least for the most part.

Three of the four new actors you’ve likely seen before. Hiroyuki Sanada had a memorable role in Sunshine, as well The Last Samurai, Rush Hour 3 and, he played Mr. Musha in Speed Racer. Rinko Kinkuchi appeared as the adorable Bang Bang in Rian Johnson’s Brothers Bloom, as well as a notable role in Babel. Finally Tadanobu has appeared in a ton of movies on both sides of the pond, including Ichi The Killer, Zatoichi, Mongol, and the forthcoming American blockbusters, Thor and Battleship. Kou Shibasaki also joins the cast, with a much smaller resume.

47 Ronin remains a starring vehicle for Keanu Reeves, who will join with commercial director Carl Rinsch to make a fantastical, highly-stylized period revenge epic, about a group of Samurai. The four new names are the first to be announced of the samurai cast, with more surely on the way (though they may be mostly unknowns from this point out). It will be in 3D, with the words “produced and released” tossed around …which implies that it will be natively shot, but who knows these days!

The film is set for November 11th, 2012 so it may yet be a little while before we hear more details or shooting begins. However, if this really is a more 300-style effort as has been rumored, then principle photography might occur much sooner than it usually would, to allow for enough post-production and VFX time. We don’t know that it’s quite that dedicated to hyper-stylized fantasy environments though, so look for more concrete details when one of the principles gives something up in an interview or something.

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Source | Variety