Movie announcements galore

Mike Nichols (Charlie Wilson’s War) will helm a remake of High And Low/The Ransom (trailer above), a detective film by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, the film that inspired The Magnificent Seven). David Mamet (Redbelt) wrote the adaptation, which is loosly based on the Evan Hunter novel King’s Ransom. Source.

Mike Sobel, a former criminal lawyer, is writing Skyscraper for Universal Pictures and producer Neal H. Moritz (Made Of Honor). It will be a disaster film in the vein of The Towering Inferno, where construction on a mile-high building in Chicago will take an unexpected and dangerous turn. Source.

Barry Sonnenfeld (RV) is in talks to helm Bronwyn And Clyde, a romantic comedy written by Tom Vaughan and Kristy Dobkin. Source.

Acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Paranoid Park) will direct The Electric Kool-Aid Test, based on a non-fiction book by Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff). The story recounts Wolfe’s experiences with fellow author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and people called the Merry Pranksters driving around in a school bus and taking LSD. Dustin Lance Black (The Journey Of Jared Price) is writing the script. Source.

Author Neil Gaiman (Beowulf) has confirmed an adaptation of his bestselling The Graveyard Book is in the works. The story tells of a boy raised by ghosts. Source.

Prolific music video director Marc Webb will write and direct the sci-fi flick Age Of Rage, which is described as Children Of Men meets Lord Of The Flies. Source.

Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) is adapting the Outlander series of fantasy novels into a potential franchise.

[Diana] Gabaldon’s series of six novels center on an 18th century Scottish Highlander and his time-traveling wife.

From what I hear, the story is more romance than action, but then again, Randall Wallace is writing…Oh wait, he wrote Pearl Harbor, I take that back. Source.

Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) will portray the villain Sho’nuff in a remake of the 1985 martial art cult film The Last Dragon (trailer below).

The updated plot will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess the Glow, making them the greatest fighter alive.

Dallas Jackson (Uncle P) is writing the adaptation, and producing it. Source.

WTF? Japanese classic Rashomon goes American in 2010

Run for the hills! The 1950 samurai crime flick Rashōmon, one of writer/director Akira Kurosawa’s (Seven Samurai aka the inspiration for The Magnificent Seven) many masterpieces is being remade into a contemporary American trial film for the 100th anniversary of the man’s death. That’s your gift, making him roll over in his grave?

Held by many as one of the best films of all time, Rashōmon tells of a woman’s rape and her husband’s murder through the contradictory accounts of four witnesses through flashbacks. Its influence has been felt in such a wide variety of films as the 2005 animated laughfest Hoodwinked! and this year’s Vantage Point.

From the sounds of the remake’s “improvement”, it will be a hundred times more conventional and less interesting. In more positive Kurosawa news, the company producing the remake, Harbor Light, will also produce one of the master’s never-filmed scripts, The Masque Of Black Death, which Kurosawa had written for animation legend Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) before his death in 1998.

Source