Chris Rock to Adapt Akira Kurosawa’s HIGH AND LOW for Mike Nichols

     April 12, 2010

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If you were going to remake a classic film noir by one of the world’s greatest directors, whom would you pick to write the adaptation?  That’s the question faced by Mike Nichols, who’s next project is an update of Akira Kurosawa’s classic High and Low.  And his answer?  According to BlackVoices, it’s Chris Rock.  That’s right: the writer of I Think I Love My Wife is adapting Kurosawa.

Kurosawa’s original 1963 film is about a businessman who must decide whether he will give up his substantial life savings in order to save his chauffer’s kidnapped son.  It’s a tense, intelligent drama, not exactly the kind of work Rock is know for.  One has to assume that he will not be attempting to create a modern noir, but that he will be turning it into some kind of comedy.

Hit the jump for my thoughts on Rock taking this surprising gig.

I’m not a huge fan of Rock’s writing, but if Nichols feels the need to remake a classic film, this seems to be a better choice than simply trying to carbon copy the original.  Nichols had originally been set to shoot a screenplay written by David Mamet, which executive producer Martin Scorsese had commissioned way back in 1999.  Mamet’s version would presumably have been closer in tone to the original, but apparently Nichols wanted to go in a completely different direction.

Rock is no stranger to writing remakes.  Down to Earth is a remake of Warren Beatty and Buck Henry’s Heaven Can Wait and I Think I Love My Wife is a remake of Eric Rohmer’s Chloe in the Afternoon.  And his new film, Death at a Funeral, is a remake of the 2007 British comedy of the same name (although Rock only stars in and produced the remake of Funeral)

No word yet on whether Rock will also appear in this new version of High and Low.

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