Akira Kurosawa's Shelved Script To Be Made by Chinese Studios
By Mei Manuel, March 12, 2017 17:03 PM
After two decades since he passed away, iconic Japanese director Akira Kurosawa will be showing once more why his stories are some of the best in the world as two Chinese studios will be making a film based on his shelved script, The Mask of the Black Death.
Last week, Beijing-based studio Huayi Brothers Media Corp and Taiwan filmmaker Chen Kuo-fu's CKF Pictures announced the joint project and it is expected to be released during the National Day week celebrations in 2020.
Kurosawa wrote the script for The Mask of the Black Death in the late 1970s but he didn't make it into a film before his death in 1998. It was supposed to be his second production alongside a Soviet studio after his first foreign language film, Dersu Uzala, was released and won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 1976. The story of this film is based on the memoire of a known Russian explorer.
The script is based on American author Edgar Allan Poe's gothic fiction The Masque of the Red Death, which was adapted for cinema by Roger Corman in 1964.
The book's story is about a prince who along with his nobles hides inside a castle to stay away from a deadly disease that's killing people.
However, since it was shelved and after Kurosawa's death, many filmmakers wanted a shot in making the story come to life.
Wang Zhonglei, co-founder and CEO of Huayi, says he first heard of Kurosawa's script from a Chinese artist in Japan. He then visited the director's family to obtain the copyright for adaptation.
"We are feeling both fortunate and nervous," he says of the opportunity.
Chen, known for producing commercial hits, says he hopes the late Japanese master's script will boost Chinese-language movies and also introduce another take to Chinese movies.
Kurosawa was the first Asian to win the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival for Rashomon in 1951, influenced Hollywood greats such as Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
Aside from the Kurosawa film, both Huayi and CFK Pictures announced last week that they will also be doing the third installment film for the Detective Dee franchise entitled Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings and the sequel to the 2015 film Mojin: The Lost Legend entitled Mojin Returns.
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