Three Scripts Uncovered, One By Shinobu Hashimoto Who Co-Wrote 'Rashomon' & Collaborated On 8 Other Kurosawa Classics
The Grand Emperor of cinema, aka Akira Kurosawa, might have passed away at the age of 88 in 1998, but the visionary filmmaker apparently still has a few more projects in the works.
Or rather, three new scripts by the grandmaster have been discovered in various locations around Japan according to Sankei Sports (via CNNGo). Tokyo University Media Professor, Yasuki Hamano made the announcement on Thursday and he found the screenplays while conducing research for his upcoming book series the, "Akira Kurosawa Archives" in which the scripts will be collected. And they sound like some intriguing work.
First up are two scripts for feature films "Kanokemaru no Hitobito" (The People of Kanokemaru) and "Ashita o Tsukuru Hitobito" (The People Who Make Tomorrow). 'Kanokemaru' follows "sailors on an old transport ship who overcome stormy weather" and was set to star longtime Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune, but the project was stopped before the story was completed.
As for 'Tomorrow,' IMDB describes the plot as follows: "Two sisters, one a dancer and the other a script supervisor at a big movie studio, become embroiled in union activities when a strike is called in sympathy with striking railroad workers, one of whom boards with the sisters and their parents. The girls’ father argues with them about their strike, but finds his views changing when he himself loses his job." The project was being made in collaboration with Toho and was one that Kurosawa said was not purely his own.
Lastly, "Yoki na Kojo" (The Cheerful Factory) was a radio drama penned prior to his feature debut "Sanshiro Sugata" and aired in August of 1942, though plot details are scarce.
Unpublished screenplays discovered after the fact aren't uncommon. Stanley Kubrick still has a treasure trove of scripts that were never made ("The Arayan Papers," "Napoleon") and filmmakers trying to bring them belatedly to life isn't completely rare either -- see Tom Tykwer's 2002 film, "Heaven" written by the great polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, and Danis Tanović's sequel, "Hell," also penned by the auteur and released in 2005, nine years after his death in 1996. Obviously Steven Spielberg eventually directed Kubrick's "A.I." script after the fact too (just to name some prominent example and yes, arguably, Kubrick's scripts were known about by his insiders before he died if you wanna be particular about it). There is a slew of unproduced Hitchcock scripts/projects and obviously John Hughes left behind some screenplays that still might see the light of day too.
Hat tip to The Criterion Cast for the additional research.