Sixty-nine film projects that Japanese grandmaster filmmaker Akira Kurosawa either wrote and/or directed have had their remake writes made available. Splendent media has signed a deal to shop the worldwide rights (excluding Japan) to the properties with rights holder Akira Kurosawa 100 Project. The LA-based company may also consider producing a few projects on their own.
The available titles include 26 films directed by Kurosawa, 24 screenplays he wrote but did not direct and an additional 19 scripts written but never put into production. The deal does not include four Kurosawa-based projects who rights have already been purchased and have projects currently in development. Those four films are the Weinstein Co.’s remake of Seven Samurai, as well as remakes of High And Low, Drunken Angel and Ikiru at other studios.
Sakiko Yamada, principal of Splendent Media, announced the deal Monday with Hideyoshi Kato, execution committee president of Akira Kurosawa 100 Project-
We are thrilled and deeply honored to have been entrusted to represent this spectacular treasure trove of films and screenplays, and to help contemporary filmmakers introduce a new generation of moviegoers to these unforgettable stories.
On the surface, this sounds like a cynical cash grab off the great director’s legacy. After all, it could be argued that the reason these stories are so unforgettable is due to the artistry of Kurosawa himself, something that a majority of directors could never hope to be close to equal too.
But let’s not commit sepukko so quickly over this. Remember that the western classic The Magnificent Seven is a direct remake of Kurosawa’s equally classic Seven Samurai. And for two of his own samurai epics Kurosawa himself transformed Shakespeare’s King Lear and Macbeth into Ran and Throne Of Blood.
And while odds are we won’t get something as interesting as Kurosawa’s original films, I wouldn’t put it entirely out of the realm of possibility. But then again, I’m not holding my breath either.