Cameras start rolling later this week on a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s classic film The Hidden Fortress, according to an announcement from in today’s Variety from Japan’s Toho Studios.
The remake’s director, Shinji Higuchi, comes from a background in visual effects and has already the directed the hit films Lorelei (2005)and The Sinking Of Japan (2006). Taking over original star Toshiro Mifune’s role of a general guiding a rescued princess through enemy territories is Hiroshi Abe, an actor who has been mostly known for roles in romantic comedies. Masami Nagasawa will be playing the princess, a role played by Misa Uehara in the original.
Of course, I could be snarky and say that Hidden Fortress has been remade once before- it was called Star Wars (1977). It’s fairly well known that Lucas patterned his original film off of Kurosawa’s story before filtering it through an odd combination of Joseph Campbell and Buck Rogers serials, causing such characters as the two bumbling peasants who accompany the general in Hidden Fortress to transform into Star Wars‘ robots R2-Ds and C-3P0. Interestingly, the two peasant characters will be merged into one character for this new version, who will be played by Jun Matsumoto, of the Japanese boy band Arashi.
The movie is scheduled for a May 10, 2008 release in Japan.