So, Japanese filmmaker and cult fave Takashi Miike, after more than 60 features that have included over-the-edge stuff like “Ichi The Killer,” “Visitor Q,” “Audition,” “Gozu” and more (and by more, we mean that he’s done everything from bloodbath gangster flicks to mainstream comedies to musicals to surreal mindfucks), he’s coming to Hollywood. Well, sort of.
Deadline reports that Miike will make his English-language debut with “The Outsider,” with none other than Tom Hardy to star. If the movie sounds familiar, then you have a good memory, because last year the project was at Warner Bros. where it was being eyed by director Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House“) and star Michael Fassbender. That iteration didn’t work out, and now the movie is in the hands of Joel Silver‘s Silver Pictures and has independent financing to go with it. So what’s this one all about?
Based on a story by father-son producers Art and John Linson, the highly placed 2011 Black List script by Andrew Baldwin tells the story of an American G.I. and former prisoner of war who rises in the yakuza in post-World War II Japan. So yeah, sounds pretty great right, but the big question is: which Miike are we getting?
The filmmaker can be wildly uneven, ranging from the distinctive filmmaker we know from genre festivals stateside, to hire-for-duty drone just cranking out whatever’s next. One has to look no further than his Cannes competition entry this year, “Shield Of Straw,” a brutally awful (our review) thriller with no authorial voice at all, that it should be noted, was released by Warner Bros. in Japan. So, the question is: will Miike have free reign to let his freak flag fly or will this picture — though not quite a studio effort, but backed by producer who knows his way around a blockbuster — find the filmmaker reigning it in because it’s a commercial movie?
Either way, we’ll be checking it out because Hardy + Miike + yakuza flick? Damn, it could be pretty rad too. Production begins in early 2014 in Japan.