• March is Akira Kurosawa month at Criterion. On the twenty-third, the great Japanese filmmaker would have been one hundred years old. For this centennial celebration, we will be posting trivia questions and other contests, and giving away a different prize every weekday. To see yesterday’s winner, check out the update on yesterday’s post.

    Today’s prompt:

    Cast an imaginary remake of your favorite Kurosawa film.

    Please respond by commenting below, and we’ll choose our favorite on Monday. You must reside in the U.S. or Canada and leave a valid e-mail address to be eligible for the prize (a DVD of Ikiru).

    UPDATE: Our winner is Alex Zechiel, who had this to say:

     

    Ikiru would make for an interesting American remake, mainly because to understand the real drama in the third half of the film, an understanding of Japanese culture and societal norms are necessary. To see a director manage to translate the courage that Watanabe’s character had into our American culture would be astounding.

    I think Gene Hackman would make for a good American counterpart to Watanabe; hell, we’ve already seen him faking stomach cancer in The Royal Tenenbaums, in which he gives one of my favorite performances of the last decade.

    Anna Kendrick would be a fine choice for Kimura; she’s just proven herself in Up in the Air, and using a still somewhat unknown actress could better detach the audience from any preconceptions.

    Watanabe’s son could be portrayed by Tobey Maguire; we’ve seen him in only one role in which he’s deviated from the norm, and that was in The Good German, in which his character dies much too quickly. Not that his character would be evil as in that film, per se, but I don’t recall liking Watanabe’s son too much on my first viewing of Ikiru.

    Finally, the novelist who Watanabe meets in the bar and who takes him out for a good time could be played by none other than Crispin Glover, one of our finest, strangest, and most underrated actors. I think he could bring a believability and quirkiness to the role that would suit the story very well.

    Wow, I actually kind of want to see this now.

     

    Congratulations, Alex!

102 comments

  • By David Hollingsworth
    March 21, 2010
    03:47 PM

    I can't really imagine 'another' remake of a Kurosawa film. To try to top him would be an absolute travesty, especially when there are so many other remakes that are just draining the life out of film today.
    Reply
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  • By Nello De Angelis
    March 21, 2010
    04:32 PM

    Ikiru Kanji Watanabe - Zlatko Buric Toyo - Chloe Moretz Watanabe's son - Vincent Gallo
    Reply
  • By Tim
    March 21, 2010
    05:20 PM

    Rashomon Bandit - Jackie Earle Haley Wife - Maggie Gyllenhaal Samurai - Willem Dafoe Priest - Harry Dean Stanton Woodcutter - John C. Reilly Commoner - Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Reply
  • By SIG
    March 21, 2010
    07:24 PM

    STRAY DOG WITH JOHNNY DEPP IN THE MIFUNE ROLE, RAY WINSTONE IN THE TAKASHI SHIMURA ROLE AND MILA KUNIS AS THE GIRL.
    Reply
  • By Jim Williamson
    March 21, 2010
    07:25 PM

    Quentin Tarantino writes and directs a remake of "Seven Samurai" as a crime drama. A group of storekeepers in an unnamed eastern city hire seven "godfatherless" hitmen: Harvey Keitel in the Kambei Shimada role as recruiter and leader. Russell Crowe as second-in-command Gorōbei Katayama. Johnny Depp as Shichirōji, the third samurai. Owen Wilson in the Heihachi Hayashida role. Bradley Cooper in the Katsushirō Okamoto role. Tom Roth as the taciturn Kyūzō. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Kikuchiyo. The Storekeepers (Villagers): Jack Nicholson as Gisaku, neighborhood patriarch, the "Grandad," who tells the storekeepers to hire displaced hitmen for protection. Gary Oldman in the Manzō role (Shino's father). Scarlett Johansson in the Shino role. Tom Waits as Yohei. Joaquin Phoenix as Rikichi. Reese Witherspoon as Rikichi's Wife. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Mosuke -- his store will have to be torched in order to save the main warehouse, where the final shoot-out takes place. The Primary Gangsters (Bandits) are played by: Mickey Rourke as the leader of the gangsters. Colin Farrell as the gangster second-in command. Clive Owen as the "musket" gangster. Faizon Love as the "roof" gangster.
    Reply
  • By Clay B.
    March 21, 2010
    09:35 PM

    I'd like to see "Throne of Blood"/ MacBeth redone as the story of a small time criminal group trying to hold their ground in modern day London. Russell (Taketori) and Jennings (Yoshiteru) are up and coming lieutenants in a criminal outfit run by Joeseph Colston. Colston orders the two to take out a rival who has been attempting to push into his territory. The job goes off without a hitch, however the murder is witnessed by an old woman who claims to see a future where either Russell or Jennings have taken control of the organization and extended it's influence well beyond the city's boundaries. Both men agree that the woman is senile and harmless, so they spare her. Russell makes the mistake of telling his girlfriend, Tera, about the hit and about the old woman. (and we know where the story goes from there). Russell - Idris Elba Jennings- Clive Owen Colston- Stellan Skarsgard Tera- Grace Jones ..... just kidding Thandie Newton
    Reply
  • By Jacob lewis
    March 21, 2010
    10:10 PM

    I would do Rashomon. The plot would be about a married couple being robbed by a young man late at night in Baltimore. The police would hear the boys side of the story. The wife's side. A witness. And even video evidence that all prove to be contradictory to each other. Think Rashomon with a little bit of Thin Blue Line. Let's fast track this puppy with... Larry Gilliard Jr. as the suspect Naomi Watts as the wife Chris Cooper as the husband and Ellen Burstyn as the witness And MY BOY! Jeffrey Wright as the inspector trying to make sense of the mess.
    Reply
  • By Robert Smith
    March 21, 2010
    11:27 PM

    John Hurt would be great in a "remake" of Ikiru. He's got that naturally pained, sad puppy dog look to him that Watanabe does so well. He's perfect for the role.
    Reply
  • By Marvin Ortiz
    March 22, 2010
    03:15 AM

    Gene Tierny would play Lady Kaede in this impossible remake of Ran. With Edward G. Robinson secure for the Hidetora Ichimonji role originally played by Tatsuya Nakadai, I would cast Toshiro Mifune as Saburo, Russell Crowe as Taro and Humphrey Bogart (going against type) as Jiro. Woody Allen would play Kyoami the fool and I would get Cillian Murphy for the role of the blind guy. I'm directing, of course!
    Reply
  • By Michael Barlow
    March 22, 2010
    08:13 AM

    Hakuchi (the idiot) a 265min version how kurosawa wanted, but make it a Anime and get Hayao Miyazaki to write/direct
    Reply
  • By M. SEAL
    March 22, 2010
    10:04 AM

    'Ran' by Lars von Trier. Hidetora - Max von Sydow Taro - Michelle Yeoh Jiro - Ziyi Zhang Saburo - Zoe Bell Kyoami - Zero Mostel Kaede - Ed Norton Kurogane - Lino Ventura If anyone wants to invest in the project, give me a call; we'll get the ball rolling.
    Reply
  • By Michael L.
    March 22, 2010
    10:50 AM

    Yojimbo: Mel Gibson as The Samurai Edward Norton as Unosuke
    Reply
  • By Tobin G
    March 22, 2010
    12:26 PM

    YOJIMBO: Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville Starring: Charles Bronson - The Samurai Alain Delon - Unosuke Orson Welles and Max von Sydow - The Two Bosses Monica Vitti - Nui
    Reply
  • By Andrew Bacon
    March 22, 2010
    12:33 PM

    Scandal Carey Grant -- Ichiro Aoye Grace Kelly -- Miyako Saijo James Stewart -- Masako Hiruta And Frank Capra would direct, because I think Scandal is already very "Caprian," with the news paper headlines, the little guy fighting the big guy, and the Christmas setting without being a "Christmas movie." I just watched Scandal and couldn't help but notice similarities.
    Reply
  • By John
    March 22, 2010
    01:19 PM

    A remake of "Dodes'ka-den" set in the outer limits of a modern city would be interesting -- for some reason I'm thinking of something like the weird hippie commune outside of Portland from the beginning of "Wendy and Lucy." And that leads me to my first casting choice: Will Oldham as the homeless father. He plays the soulful, shaggy drifter well, but this role -- and especially the presence of a son in need -- would give him a chance to branch out past the inebriated bum. Because there are so many more misfits in this one, I'll focus on some of the memorable roles that might get top billing for the poster. Jermaine Crawford (who played Duquan on "The Wire") could play the trolley boy, although I'm hoping he's not too old for the role now; Mo'Nique could make a nice post-Oscar return as the mother. The pair of spouse-swapping couples? Would Natalie Portman, Casey Affleck, Rebecca Hall and Steve Zahn be funny if they got drunk together?
    Reply
  • By Thomas Brewer
    March 22, 2010
    02:28 PM

    I would like to see the Seven Samurai remake using several of today’s biggest stars from Asia. Seeing Jackie Chan playing Kambei Shimada the leader at his age is perfect. Chan is at the age where he could play the war-weary samurai. Andy Lau as Gorōbei Katayama the second in command of the seven samurai. Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Shichirōji, and Takeshi Kaneshiro as the youngest of the samurai Katsushirō Okamoto. Leon Lai is perfect as the cheerful samurai Heihachi Hayashida. Kyūzō the skilled samurai would be best played by Donnie Yan. Only Jet Li could play Kikuchiyo. Could you see this film it could only be directed by John Woo! WOW just thinking about this film with these actors really gets me pumped!
    Reply
  • By Jason Van Cleave
    March 22, 2010
    02:37 PM

    The blizzard sequence from "Dreams" starring Danny Trejo and set in a sandstorm. "Yojimbo" starring Woody Harrelson. "Ikiru" starring Bill Murray.
    Reply
  • By Brian Eggert
    March 22, 2010
    02:53 PM

    I'd love to see a remake of 'Drunken Angel' by Martin Scorsese, only because it would have to be a director of Scorsese's caliber to do justice to the original yet innovate enough to make it his own. Much like how Kurosawa used his two most frequent leading men, Mifune and Shimura, Scorsese could cast De Niro as the doctor and DiCaprio in the Mifune role. It would make a wonderful parallel between these filmmakers, their styles, and their repeated use of the same talented performers.
    Reply
  • By Mark Hendrix
    March 22, 2010
    03:30 PM

    Ikiru - Hal Holbrooks in the lead. I can't imagine anyone doing the part better. The rest of the cast doesn't really matter, but how about Jeff Bridges as his son who doesn't get it, Catherine Keener as his daughter-in-law and Zooey Deschanel as the girl from his office who helps him understand how to live. Oh, and Paul Rudd as the guy he meets in the tavern that takes him out for a night on the town.
    Reply
  • By Matthias Galvin
    March 22, 2010
    04:57 PM

    Nicely done, Alex!
    Reply

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