Yen, Clooney and Ziyi In Seven Samurai Remake?

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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Over the last day and a bit several sites have been buzzing about a rumored remake of The Seven Samurai, possibly starring Donnie Yen, George Clooney and Zhang Ziyi and to be produced by The Weinstein Company. Now, I wouldn't go holding my breath for this one just yet, and here's why ...

While it is definitely the case the Bob and Harv are looking to work with Donnie in some higher profile films all of the excitement over this seems to stem from a seemingly innocuous comment Yen made while at Cannes, and which I found at Wu-Jing.org. Pretty much every other article I've seen on this is basing their news on a minimal comment from a production assistant at a film company Yen is currently working with, who in turn seems pretty clearly to be referencing this comment. Here's what he actually said:

"I did meet Harvey Weinstein at Cannes, and we talked about a few projects, including a movie in which he intends to get me, George Clooney and Zhang Ziyi. It's a remake of an Akira Kurosawa movie, but I do not know the details, for production would only begin next year. His company has two to three movies for me, I'm only waiting for the scripts to be out. If they're indeed filming Seven Samurai, I'd be raring to join, for I admire Akira Kurosawa greatly."

Note what he says: Harvey wants to make a movie with Yen, Ziyi and Clooney and it will possibly be a remake of a Kurosawa film. That combination is interesting but the news that Harv wants to make films with established stars is far from shocking.

Now note what he doesn't say: No contracts signed. No formal negotiations started. No scripts written for any Yen projects with the Weinsteins. He doesn't even say that the Kurosawa remake will be Seven Samurai, only that he'd be quite interested if that were the film to be remade.

Conclusion? Harv's floating ideas to see what's possible and where the interest lies. This is a guy pitching a concept at Cannes, where literally thousands of films that will never, ever see the light of day get pitched every year. I'm not saying it won't happen but this is a loooooooooong way from being etched in stone.

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FiveVenomsJune 2, 2006 2:33 AM

Oh! I'd vaguely wondered about the origins of this, so thanks for clearing it up. Since I vaguely feel that this is a bad idea, I'm glad that it's only quasi-hearsay at this point.

Um, sorry for the overly excitable e-mail...

TorokunJune 2, 2006 2:51 AM

Why? Why? Why?

Leave the masterpiece alone~!!!!

hernanJune 2, 2006 3:04 AM

i'd never hold my breath for a remake of any Kurosawa samurai film. Truly awful idea.

cybermanJune 2, 2006 4:36 AM

IF they are going to use those people, at least rewrite the script to take place in China and a change of title to perhaps Seven Warriors or something like that.

Kurt HalfyardJune 2, 2006 4:44 AM

Hmmm for a chinese setting, Seven Swords? Doh!

:)

JamesJune 2, 2006 6:08 AM

Kurosawa has such an extensive filmography far beyond just period/samurai films, and with the vagueness of that statement it could be referring to just about anything. If they HAD to remake something (and I still don't think they should), I'd be more intersted in one of his "urban" films ala "High and Low" or "The Lower Depths" or "Stray Dog". Although, the preference for Yen and Ziyi suggests a more "martial" film. Wasn't Scorsese supposed to direct a remake of Drunken Angel at some point?

scovilleJune 2, 2006 6:31 AM

Check the forums much Todd?

Todd BrownJune 2, 2006 6:51 AM

Yep, I saw it there, had it emailed to me a couple times and chased the thread of it around several other sites until I found what looked to be the source quote that started the speculation. Most people picked up on it when it hit Yahoo News through the AP article, but that one cited the production assistant who offered an interpretation of Yen's quote above.

paratizeJune 2, 2006 7:02 AM

Do people actually believe that Clooney would play a samurai? Who's next, Tom Cruise?! ^_^

SwarezJune 2, 2006 12:57 PM

Why are people screaming bloody murder about these remakes when at least two Kurosawa remakes are probably high on their favorites list? The Magnificent Seven and A Fist full of dollars.
The only thing that offends me about this news is the name of the Weinsteins, everybody else is tops in my book.

axleuJune 2, 2006 1:12 PM

"Why are people screaming bloody murder about these remakes when at least two Kurosawa remakes are probably high on their favorites list? The Magnificent Seven and A Fist full of dollars."

Magnificent is good (not great, sorry), and Fistfull of dollars is the weakest Leone western, IMHO (Yojimbo is ten times better, period!).

AndreJune 2, 2006 4:11 PM

Three actors? A Kurosawa remake? I think Rashomon would be far more likely, not to mention easier to have an american in it without too much unnecessary butchering.

robin l√∏vliJune 2, 2006 5:12 PM

I hope this won`t happen.

Weinsteins are pigsJuly 28, 2006 7:08 AM

It actually is in pre-production and the fat pig Weinsteins have hired screenwriters. WTF? Is nothing sacred? This seems to be arrogance on the part of Weinstein and Clooney. Noone can touch the masters work and besides, what are they going to do? The movie has been done as intended. I personally am sick of this destructive behavior.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117944954?categoryId=13&cs=1

DrewFebruary 18, 2007 3:08 PM

The mere thought of a re-make(if it is in fact for the Seven Samurai) should bow out NOW and commit "hara-kire", ... I've just been trying to obtain a copy of the 'restored' version of the the film, and fell upon this site.It's kinda hard to get it at a good price here(UK)-so have bought a used copy for great value using amazon.com-a lot cheaper than the UK amount, even if new.