47 Ronin Folktale-Film Adaptation Stars Keanu Reeves
Kristen M. Foster
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Universal Pictures is premiering the new UK trailer for the troubled fantasy adventure 47 Ronin, debuting Christmas Day to US audiences (its original release date was to be November 2012). The movie is a Hollywood production of an oft-adapted Japanese folktale about 47 Ronin (leaderless samurai) who avenge the disgracing of their leader. The story is one of the most celebrated in samurai culture. It is attributed to an early 18th century incident that evokes what many believe to be the essential demonstration of the samurai and warrior spirit.
This variation has the addition of Keanu Reeves, a half-breed whose help is sought by the outcast warriors, as well as a carnival of mythic beasts and other fantasy elements that do not seem to be featured in the original tale. Artistic license.
Reeves stars alongside an elite cast of Japanese actors, including Tadanobu Asano who is also the character ‘Hogun’ in the Thor film series, Hiroyuki Sanada who played ‘Shingen’ in this summer’s The Wolverine and Rinko Kikuchi whose credits cover such films as Babel (2006) and the Japanese adaptation of the film Sideways (2009).
This big-budget production, rumored to be amassing a bill reaching $200 million, is the feature-length, directorial debut of Carl Rinsch. Rinsch is reported to be a protege of Ridley Scott and some mixed reporting indicates he may have been shoved aside in the editing studio by Universal execs.
Reeves made his directorial debut this year, also starring in the martial arts film Man of Tai Chi, which is anticipating its US release the first of November. The new director says of his film at last month’s Toronto International Film Festival, “It’s sophisticated camp… It’s supposed to be fun, but also deep with a nice message.” Reeves also describes it as a cautionary tale, the paradoxical plot being that of a young man who is skilled in Tai Chi being swept into the underworld of the fight club.
[Images via 47 Ronin and Man of Tai Chi official Facebook.]