By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 3, 2011 at 8:10AM
It's not what we'd call "black cinema" but, come on... you can't call yourself a lover of cinema if you haven't seen Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece (actually one of many Kurosawa masterpieces) Seven Samurai. Scratch that... you can't call yourself a lover of cinema if you haven't seen it at least 3 times :)
The watershed film is considered one of cinemas greatest and most Its influential films, and now, the Weinsteins want to remake it!
Actually, this supposed remake has been in the works for about 5 years now, initially announced back in 2006, when it was rumored that Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi and George Clooney had reportedly been approached to star, as if any of that makes any sense.
The Weinsteins remake was supposedly going to be a "slightly updated" version with "CGI-enhanced fight scenes," and a budget of around $100 million!
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this certainly wouldn't be the first time the Kurosawa's film has been remade; maybe the most obvious and popular of all its influences is John Sturges' 1960 western The Magnificent Seven, in which the Samurai were replaced by gunslingers.
But back to the Weinstein remake...
Fast-forward to today,. as Variety, just minutes ago, reported that, somewhat unexpectedly (since little had been heard about the project since its announcement) British director Scott Mann has signed on to direct the Weinstein-produced remake, indicating that the project is very much still alive and moving forward.
The details... this remake, now budgeted at $60 million, will be a contemporary adaptation, set in Northern Thailand, and will center on "7 paramilitary contractors" from around the world, hired by a town in the region, to defend it from an attack.
The script was written by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom & Young Guns), who, Variety says has been working on the project for 18 months. Although Mann will also assume some screenwriting duties on the project.
Scott Mann's an odd choice, given that he has just 1 feature film under his belt - a 2009 straight-to-dvd title, The Tournament, which starred Ving Rhames, in an ensemble cast. That film was produced by the Weinsteins as well, by the way; hence the connection.
But it's hard to gauge what the Weinstein's hopes/plans for the remake are, given the relatively unknown and even unproven names and talents (Fusco and Mann) they've signed on thus far. Fusco has penned a few Hollywood scripts, but absolutely nothing that could be considered a major (or even minor) hit (critically or commercially). I guess, I just expected this to be a "top-shelf" project (given the budget), and not some genre action movie, right?
Anyway... another Seven Samurai remake is coming... an obvious question is whether we can even really call this a remake, since all this does is simply utilize the now-common plot device of recruiting heroes into a unit to accomplish some specific goal. We've seen that element used over and over in cinema. So, should we say every film that uses that device is a remake of Seven Samurai, or maybe rather just influenced by it?
Shooting is scheduled to begin later this year.
And if you haven't seen the original flick, it's currently streaming on Netflix, just a few clicks away.