A big budget adaptation of classic samurai tale Chushingura has been announced as Warner Brothers Japan’s first local language production.
Based on real events that occurred in the early 18th century, the film will be a fictionalised account based on Shoichiro Ikemiya’s 1994 novel Saigo No Chushingura. It tells the story of 47 Ronin (masterless samurai) who raided an official’s mansion to avenge the persecution of their lord, knowing they would have to commit harakiri as penance.
As one of Japan’s most famous stories, it was first adapated for a film in 1908. In addition to Kenji Mizoguchi’s The 47 Ronin (1941) thirteen feature film and thirty TV renditions were produced from the mid-1950s to the present day.
Chushingura will be directed by Shigemichi Sugita, best known for long-running TV drama Kita No Kuni Kara, and will star Koji Yakusho and Koichi Sato as two survivors of the attack.
Production is due to begin on November 8 in Kyoto and it is slated for a New Year’s 2011 release.
Warner Japan was one of the first Hollywood majors to get involved in local production as an investor and distributor, with titles including The Sky Crawlers. Richard Fox, executive VP for Warner Brothers Pictures International, said: “Following the worldwide success of Warner productions The Last Samurai and Letters From Iwo Jima, we are now fully moving into Japanese production, with global distribution planned for the film.”