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Oh Great, Someone Just Got The Remake Rights To 69 Kurosawa Movies, Including 19 Unmade Scripts

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 23, 2011 at 1:38AM

Well, if this is proof of anything, it's that the remake/reboot phenomenon knows absolutely no boundaries.
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Well, if this is proof of anything, it's that the remake/reboot phenomenon knows absolutely no boundaries.

Relatively new Los Angeles-based production house Splendent Media -- who are behind the forthcoming Al Pacino film "Wild Salome" -- have just signed a deal to represent the rights to 69 projects from the legendary Akira Kurosawa including 19 unmade scripts. If that number seems absurdly high, just remember, his writing credits far outnumber the films he directed and clearly, he had a lot sitting in the archives as well. The deal doesn't cover the remakes that are currently in development including "The Seven Samurai" (which recently had Scott Mann hired to take it on); "High & Low" (which last we heard was being written by Chris Rock with Mike Nichols directing); "Ikiru" (once mooted as a Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks joint) and "Drunken Angel." So what does it include? Pretty much everything else including "Rashomon," "Ran," "Yojimbo," "Dreams" and "Kagemusha" which is kind of totally fucking depressing.

In case you had any doubts as to the intentions at work here, there's this: "In recent years, countless American and European filmmakers have expressed intense interest in remaking Kurosawa's films," Hideyoshi Kato said. "To help streamline this process, we are extremely pleased to have found in Ms. Yamada [of Splendent] a representative who possesses a deep passion for Kurosawa's work as well as strong connections to both the Japanese and U.S. entertainment industries."

Basically, it means, they have been trying to find a way to get their ducks in a row so they can best exploit Kurosawa's great works. "We are thrilled and deeply honored to have been entrusted to represent this spectacular treasure trove of films and screenplays, and to help contemporary filmmakers introduce a new generation of moviegoers to these unforgettable stories," Splendent honcho Sakiko Yamada said. Of course, the idea that the best way to honor Kurosawa's films would be to let them speak for themselves has escaped everyone involved. But you don't make money on movies that are decades old without finding some new revenue stream.

Granted, not every Kurosawa film is a masterpiece and not every remake is a bad idea. Getting the unmade scripts in production? Sure, that could be a fun idea. But when every one of Kurosawa's films are all rounded up together like cheap prostitutes looking for the highest bidder, the whole enterprise seems pretty sleazy. [Variety]

This article is related to: Vintage Directors, Akira Kurosawa


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