‘Rashomon’-Inspired TV Series Will Be Developed for HBO Max

The HBO Max series will retain the key plot points and narrative technique from the classic 1950 film.
Toshiro Mifune and Masayuki Mori in "Rashomon"
Toshiro Mifune and Masayuki Mori in "Rashomon"

Amblin Television and HBO Max have entered a development deal to create a television series inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon.”

The untitled series will not be an adaptation of the original Japanese-language film, which premiered in 1950, but will retain its key plot points and narrative technique — a drama centering around a grisly sexual assault and murder, and the unraveling mystery seen through multiple characters’ competing eyes — to explore the themes of truth and subjective point-of-view, in a modern setting.

Each episode of the series will focus on the perceived truth of a specific character as they tell the events of the murder from their unique, self-serving perspective. Casting, an episode count, and a release date are unknown.

The series will be written by Oscar nominees Billy Ray (“Captain Phillips”) and Virgil Williams (“Mudbound”). Amblin Partners’ co-presidents of television Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will executive-produce alongside with Mark Canton, Leigh Ann Burton, and David Hopwood.

“Truth has become increasingly fractured in this age of cable news and social media’s ‘say it and it’s true’ culture,” said Frank and Falvey in a statement shared with media. “Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece was not just a murder mystery; it was a revolution in storytelling, as cinema’s most impactful and influential early exploration of subjective points of view and flawed narration. Seventy years after the film’s release, the legacy of ‘Rashomon’ is indisputable and its central themes more relevant than ever. Our series will honor the impact of the original work and explore the age-old concept of objective truth versus subjective perspective in our modern times.”

“Rashomon” helped raise both Kurosawa’s and the Japanese film industry’s international profiles. Kurosawa, who died in 1998, left behind a career of other major classics, from “Seven Samurai” and “Yojimbo” to “Ikiru.”

“It takes a lot of hard work to make the stars align and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to create an original take on ‘Rashomon’ — a masterpiece from a true genius of cinema — for new audiences, with the full support and blessing of the Kurosawa family,” said Canton. “Not only that, but to be doing so in partnership with my friends and colleagues at Amblin Television, as well as the brilliantly talented Billy Ray and Virgil Williams, is truly the convergence of hard work and good fortune that every producer hopes for.”

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