One of the strangest and yet creative movies I’ve seen in some time has been Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Dai Nippon Jin aka Big Man Japan. A satire on the cult of celebrity, reality television and giant monster movies, the film follows the titular hard luck hero who defends Japan from a variety of bizarre monsters that attack its shores with alarming frequency. (See my review here.)
Although a big hit in Japan for its director, it has only a cult reputation here in the States, partly due to much of its humor being so strongly rooted in Japanese culture. But Columbia Pictures thinks that its premise is translatable enough for American audiences as they have announced that producer Neal Moritz will be overseeing an American remake of the film for the studio.
This is an English-language remake I did not see coming.
While, I would think that a majority of the film should be easily adaptable with humor aimed at US audiences, I have to wish writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi good luck on dealing with the film’s last ten minutes or so, where it takes a complete left turn into the bizarre. I’ve watched the movie three times and I’m still not quite sure what the hell is going on.
Here’s the press release from Columbia –
CULVER CITY, Calif., June 3, 2011 – Columbia Pictures has optioned remake and sequel rights to Big Man Japan, which will be developed and produced into a new feature film by Neal H. Moritz through his Original Film banner, it was announced today by Hannah Minghella, president of production for Columbia Pictures. Big Man Japan was a breakthrough hit in Japan in 2007 and a cult hit in the United States in 2009. Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi will write the new adaptation.
Set in a world where monsters wreak havoc, there’s one man who can protect the citizenry: Big Man Japan, who runs the Department of Monster Prevention. Using electricity, he can grow to be 10 stories tall and fight off the most menacing of monsters. The problem is that he’s not very good at his job and often causes as much damage as he prevents. The people believe he’s a joke – and not nearly as good at the job as his father and grandfather were before he took over the family business.
The option for all non Japanese language rights to the film were secured through Yoshimoto Kogyo Co, Ltd, and their affiliate Yoshimoto Creative Agency, Ltd, producers of the original film that was directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto.
Toby Jaffe will oversee development for Original.