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.

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Kristen Bell joins Astro Boy voice cast

28 year old Kristen Bell (NBC’s Heroes) has just been added to the voice cast of the forthcoming animated movie Astro Boy. Bell, who for some reason passes as every fanboy’s favorite twenty-something actress, thus joins Freddie Highmore (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Nicolas Cage (Bangkok Dangerous), Bill Nighy (Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 & 3), Donald Sutherland (Fool’s Gold), Eugene Levy (the American Pie films) and Nathan Lane (Swing Vote), among others.

The long-gestating movie is of course based on the manga by legendary artist/animator/doctor Osamu Tezuka (Metropolis), and is directed by David Bowers (Flushed Away) through Imagi Animation (TMNT). The story, adapted by Timothy Harris (Space Jam), goes like this according to Wikipedia:

Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he has lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving man’s expectations, Astro Boy embarks on a journey in search of acceptance, experiencing betrayal and a netherworld of robot gladiators, before he returns to save Metro City and reconcile with the father who had rejected him.

Astro Boy is expected to release in 2009, but a date has yet to be set.

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