We've been watching American versions of Japanese films for years, whether it's "The Grudge" or Spike Lee's forthcoming retelling of "Oldboy." Clint Eastwood's classic Western "A Fistful of Dollars" was basically an English language clone of the work of Akira Kurosawa, who was of course inspired by American Westerns (cue Justin Timberlake singing "What Goes Around...")
Keeping that tradition alive, Ken Watanabe steps in for Clint Eastwood in a Japanese language remake of 1990 Best Picture Oscar winner "Unforgiven." American audiences know Watanabe from "Inception" and "Batman Begins," but let's not forget his introduction to Western folks via Tom Cruise and 2003's "The Last Samurai," where the Cruisemeister actually played the title character.
Eastwood directed Watanabe in "Letters from Iwo Jima," a mostly Japanese language World War II epic which itself was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay and took home an Oscar for Best Sound Editing.
This version of "Unforgiven" changes the setting from 19th Century Wyoming to roughly the same period in Japan. Watch the trailer, then rock out to Metallica's "The Unforgiven," which hasn't been remade, but did spawn not one but two sequels. Bringing all of these narrative threads even closer together, Metallica has spent the last 30 years opening their shows with Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold," from Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," part of the man-with-no-name trilogy that started with...
"A Fistful of Dollars."
Japanese audiences will get a look at the new "Unforgiven" in September.
A release date for North America has not been scheduled.