Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai), arguably the most famous Japanese actor on international shores, is set to take the lead in Warner Japan’s upcoming remake of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning Unforgiven, Yurusarezaru Mono.
Korean-Japanese filmmaker Lee Sang-Il will be behind the camera, following up from his award-winning latest feature, Villain, which took five awards at last year’s Japanese equivalent of the Academy Awards.
Like the original, the film will be set in 1880, relocating the setting to Hokkaido, Japan, at time when Japanese settlers were displacing the local Ainu people.
Watanabe will star in the lead originally played by Eastwood, playing a samurai with a fearsome reputation living in retirement with his Ainu wife, brought out of retirement for one last job.
Kōichi Satō (When the Last Sword is Drawn) will take the role originally played by Gene Hackman, with veteran Akira Emoto (Villain) cast in the role played by Morgan Freeman.
Production on Yurusarezaru Mono is set to shoot from September through November in Hokkaido, and is expected to be released in the autumn/fall of 2013. No word yet on if this will reach UK/US shores, but with Watanabe attached, I really hope so. At the very least, we could well see this as next year’s Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Feature for the Oscars. More as we get it.
And in case you’re unfamiliar with his work, here are two brilliant clips from The Last Samurai and Inception to enjoy.