Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest directors of all-time. It’s indisputable so don’t even try. However, his work is not immune from the clutches of remakes and his classics Seven Samurai, High and Low, Ikiru, and Drunken Angel have all been in development at one point or another. However, most of his work has remained out of the hands of a single company until now. Variety reports that new production company Splendent Media (the folks behind Al Pacino’s upcoming film Wild Salome) has picked up the remake rights to 26 of Kurosawa’s films including Yojimbo, Ran, Kagemusha, Dreams, and Rashomon. In addition, Splendent also now owns 24 films Kurosawa wrote but didn’t direct and 19 unproduced screenplays.
Hit the jump for why you shouldn’t be dismayed.
While it’s tough to argue that no one will be able to tell these stories as well as Kurosawa, we should all remember that Kurosawa also adapted stories. For example:
- High and Low is a loose adaptation of Ed McBain’s King’s Ransom
- Ran, Throne of Blood, and The Bad Sleep Well are all based on Shakespeare plays.
- Red Beard is based on Shûgorô Yamamoto’s novel Akahige shinryô tan.
- Yojimbo is loosely based on Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest.
And let’s not forget that Kurosawa has been remade before, most notably with A Fistful of Dollars and The Magnificent Seven. Kurosawa’s legend lives on, his importance to cinematic history, is undiluted, and—let’s be honest—he told some great stories. No one can ever replace Kurosawa or hope to imitate him but it would be narrow-minded to say “Well he made these movies so no one is allowed to ever re-interpret them.” At the end of the day, his magnificent filmography will continue to influence generations of filmmakers and perhaps these remakes can even bring his work to audiences that would never have given the Japanese director a second glance. But even if that doesn’t happen, his work getting remade is no reason to freak out or be upset.