For years Hollywood has remade foreign films to varying degrees, with some of the most successful examples being genre-swaps: for example, John Sturges’ classic western “The Magnificent Seven” was based on Akira Kurosawa’s landmark “Seven Samurai.” And now a western film will have its setting swapped out for the East as Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” is being remade under the tutelage of “Villain” helmer Lee Sang-il with Ken Watanabe set to star.
The original 1992 western was set in 1880 and followed Eastwood’s William Munny, an old gunslinger that retired for a family and farming life, as he takes on one last job after being recruited by a young man to claim a bounty. The Warner Japan-produced remake, “Yurusarezaru mono,” will retain the period setting but will instead take place in “the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, [at] a time when Japanese settlers were displacing the native Ainu people. ”
Watanabe, who appeared in Eastwood’s World War II film “Letters From Iwo Jima,” has had roles in many high-profile American films within the last decade — including a pair of Christopher Nolan films, 2005’s “Batman Begins” and 2010’s "Inception" — and can certainly evoke the same world-weariness and gravitas that Eastwood brought to his role. And if someone has to step into Clint's shoes, it's hard to argue with someone as talented and reliable as Watanabe.
The Japanese-language remake will begin shooting this fall on location in Hokkaido. Let us know what your favorite foreign-language or genre-swapping remakes are below. [Variety]