South Africa-based Distant Horizon has picked up remake rights to Don't Look Up (Joyuu-Rei), a Japanese horror story originally made by Ringu-director Hideo Nakata.

Distant Horizon CEO, Anant Singh told Screendaily that a number of Hollywood studios have indicated an interest in the remake and that a top horror screenwriter will be brought on board to complete an English adaptation of the screenplay. "If everything goes well we could be in a position to announce a [studio] deal within the next two weeks," said Singh.

"Nakata's films are pretty well known in the west and there has obviously been a lot of interest since the success of The Ring [the Dreamworks remake of Nakata's Ringu] which has taken over $200m worldwide" said Singh. "I'd love it if we could persuade Nakata himself to direct. He is popular in Hollywood and the material is perfect."

The story features a film production which is tainted by an old piece of celluloid containing images of a woman's murder. Singh said: "Of all the Nakata films I have seen, Don't Look Up and The Ring are truly the most frightening. Don't Look Up, however, is the one that really gets under your skin, and the subject matter of a haunted piece of film is a perfect match for a Hollywood remake."

Joyuu-Rei was produced in 1996 by Bandai Visual, with Bitters End and WoWow. The remake rights were bought by Distant Horizon from WoWow-subsidiary Suncent Cinema Works.

Even before The Ring's box office triumph, Nakata's pictures have been in demand. Bill Mechanic's Pandemonium has a remake option on Nakata's Dark Water (Honogurai Mizo No Sokokara), which it bought directly from rights owner Kadokawa Shoten.

Distant Horizon has been active in the remake sector. It bought remake rights to Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Daiei-backed Pulse (Kairo), which appeared in Cannes three years ago. The project is now set up at Dimension where it is to be directed by Wes Craven. It also acquired remake rights to China Star's Hong Kong comedy La Brassiere and to Yasuomi Umetsu's Japanese animation Kite, the story of an orphaned schoolgirl who is also a professional assassin, which will be made as a live action picture.