In my interview with Samuel L. Jackson in December, ahead of the release of Django Unchained, he mentioned that one of the projects on his slate was a live-action adaptation of a Japanese anime film called Kite (Yasuomi Umetsu’s 1998 work), which was to be directed by David R. Ellis (who also directed Mr Jackson in Snakes On A Plane).
However, as some of you may know, David R. Ellis died on January 7 (this year). Taking over for him, revealed this morning, is South African director Ralph Ziman.
Ziman’s last film was 2008’s Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema, a film I wrote about on my old blog (S&A wasn’t around at the time), which follows the rise of a young, small-time hoodlum who rises to become a crime lord, tracing his journey from the years just before and after the end of Apartheid in South Africa.
Kite, in short, centers on a young girl named Sawa, orphaned in her early teens, after her parents are brutallty murdered, who is trained to become a hitman (or is it hitwoman?) for a pair of detectives who control her.
The DVD description of the original Kite states: “College student by day, vigilante by night, Sawa protects the innocent and mercilessly kills criminals in this intense Japanese anime.“
It was banned in some countries due to its depictions of extreme violence, strong sexuality and nudity, including graphic rape scenes involving a very young Sawa.
However, this English-language remake will reportedly be a character-driven action film, that charts the story of Sawa (to be played by India Eisley), who lives in a failed state, where a corrupt security force profits on the trafficking of young women. When Sawa’s policeman father is killed, she vows to find and take out the murderer, with the help of her father’s ex-partner, Karl Aker (played by Samuel L. Jackson).
There’s a surprising twist that I won’t reveal, although you could probably find it online if you searched.
It looks like it’ll be Jackson’s next work, as principal photography is set to begin this month in Johannesburg.