Keanu Reeves to Star in 47 Ronin

Topic started by gia on Nov. 20, 2009. Last post by AleM 5 years, 3 months ago.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13

Okay, whether you like the idea of Keanu Reeves starring as Spike Spiegel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop or not, it's not hard to see that he's a driving force behind the movie getting made at all. If THAT doesn't get you some Japanophile geek cred, what does?

Well, I guess starring in 47 Ronin might help. The film is an upcoming live-action movie based on a famous Japanese tale of 18th-century samurai-- 47 of 'em, as you may have guessed --who hit the road to try and take down the guy who killed their master, leaving them "ronin" (a ronin is a samurai without a master, although it's also used these days colloquially to refer to a high school graduate who failed their college entrance exams and is studying to retake them).

The original story has been remade dozens of times in Japan, perhaps not entirely unlike the Arthurian legends in the west. In addition, one of the most popular themes of the ukiyo-e woodblock prints that are said to be a precursor to manga was the tale of the Forty-Seven Ronins.

Wanted and Fast & Furious screenwriter Chris Morgan wrote the script for the film, and it's going to be directed by Carl Rinsch, who may have dropped out of the Alien prequel to direct this film. It will be produced by Scott Stuber and Pamela Abdy.
Post by Pyro (49 posts) See mini bio Level 4
Post by FLStyle (423 posts) See mini bio Level 12
I always thought ronin specifically described a samurai who had abandoned their village, didn't know it applied to loyal samurai who's master had been killed.
I didn't know about the tale beforehand, has no-one made an manga/anime combo out of this? Well good luck to all involved, Keanu is one of my favourite actors but even so I'll watch this because the tale alone sounds cool.
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,654 posts) See mini bio Level 25

" Okay, whether you like the idea of Keanu Reeves starring as Spike Spiegel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop or not, it's not hard to see that he's a driving force behind the movie getting made at all. If THAT doesn't get you some Japanophile geek cred, what does? "

In certain circles it more counts as being the one at fault that it's being made. Just because something can be done. Is no excuse for doing it so poorly.
I really want to check and see if the casting director's name is Vicious.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
@FLStyle: A ronin can be a samurai gone rogue, a samurai whose master was killed or died, or a samurai whose master basically disowned him, I believe...basically it's a samurai with no one controlling his actions anymore. A rogue samurai, if you will. :)
@FoxxFireArt: Well, I prefer not to count my chicken corpses before they die, as it were, but if you're determined to hate the film I'm sure you will get your wish ^_^
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,654 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Only due to who they have playing the lead. He's a poor actor who has never shown to ever show he can play the type of character Spike is. It hurts the anime industry in the US if all they make in the US are these campy movies. It's the reason they stopped making the Batman movies the way they had been. When they started making them seriously. The quality in the film and story improved dramatically.
These movies reinforce all the negative stereotypes people have of anime.
I do agree that some anime movies made in Japan have had a few select hits. That's because those are the ones taken seriously. Such as Death Note.
Post by AleM (38 posts) See mini bio Level 5
The idea of seeing Keanu Reeves as Spike seems to be much better than seeing him as a samurai (Okay, Ronin), though I was pretty surprised with Tom Cruise's performance in "The Last Samurai". Maybe there is still space for gaijin samurais...
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
@FoxxFireArt: I dunno-- I saw Constantine, and while it was pretty awful as an adaptation of Hellblazer*, in and of itself it was an okay movie, and he worked in it okay. Obviously the character isn't identical to Spike, but there's some overlap. Regardless, a Cowboy Bebop movie will almost certainly have to be very much about style; I'd be surprised if the film gets much chance to really plumb the depths of the character. And since he's a character who does not emote strongly, Reeves could do just fine.
* Before you suggest that Constantine's failure to really represent Hellblazer is Reeves' fault and further evidence of his inability, bear in mind that it's really the director who decides the direction of a film.
I thought all the negative stereotypes people had about anime involved robots and tentacles? ;) We haven't had a single film with any of those yet, and it saddens me!
I don't know that it's fair to hold it against the people who made Speed Racer and DBE that they didn't take the films "seriously." If you mean in terms of the actual production I'm sure they took it as seriously as they would any other full-time job. If you're talking about the actual content of the films though? Come on, they're SPEED RACER and DRAGONBALL Z. Neither is ultra-serious all the time.
Maybe I'm just crazy. I much prefer to expend my energy hoping things to turn out good than assuming they'll all fail :) Think of it this way: if fans don't remain optimistic, if we don't just poop all over every single tidbit about a project, then maybe the creators won't keep on assuming that it's impossible to please us and not caring what we think. :) I think that producer Joshua Long and his team have already made the first step towards letting us know that they care just by reaching out to the anime press, and writer Peter Craig also gave me a lot of hope when I interviewed him. Could the movie fail? Sure. But while it may seem a lot "cooler" to think that it will, I'm probably having a lot more fun thinking about the ways it might not :D
@AleM: Yeah, but at least in Last Samurai it's part of the story that he's not Japanese. I don't believe there are any "canonically" foreign samurai amongst the 47 Ronin, but on the other hand, the story takes place in the Genroku era in the Edo period, a couple hundred years after Portugal first visited Japan, so it's possible. Reeves has a rather exotic look (he's half-Lebonese), so I could also imagine them trying to make him half-Japanese in the film. I guess we'll see.
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,654 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Spike emoted plenty in the voice work. It was one of the very few times I enjoyed the dub work over the subtitled. He wasn't always expressing his emotion but he would at times. In the lines you could hear the sadness or hear the anger. Reeves has never shown that ability. He's always mono-toned.
The fact that Constantine was a horrible adaptation is what made it a bad movie. What is the point of using an existing property if you aren't going to stay as true as possible to it. You make movies based on comics because they are popular. That way you already know people enjoy the story. They shoot themselves in the foot by altering the story and even changing the identity of the lead. Constantine is suppose to be from Liverpool. Reeves again is as far away as possible from Liverpool. You can't tell me there aren't talented British actors. Hollywood has this idiotic idea that all they have to do is paste the title on a crap movie and they will get the fans. It's never shown to work well. 
Constantine cost 100 million to make. It only grossed 75 Million. It couldn't even make it's money back.
The other negative stereotypes people have with anime are that they are just filled with poor story and silly action. Cowboy Bebop has some of the best mood and story in anime. People go to these horrible movies and think all anime and manga are like that.

Of course it's fair to hold the production of Speed Racer and DB:E against them. Some things are never meant to do live action films of. I had the same issues when the story was that Vin Diesel wanted to play the lead role in the Hitman movie, based off the popular video game series. I hated the idea. He was nothing like Agent 47. He was far too large of a man. There is no way he could blend into a crowd. Thankfully, they tossed the idea of using Vin Diesel.  Instead they went with a lesser known Timothy Olyphant. There were little touches of the games put through out the movie. They stayed true and made a pretty decent adaptation. That cost 24 Million to make and it grossed 39 Million in the US alone. It made it's money back in the US market alone.
Speed Racer could of been made into a decent movie. Lord knows they made enough racer movies. In it's place they made something you can't watch if you have epilepsy.
I look ahead and I see patterns using preexisting themes. That tells me they are going to make some crappy movie of Keanue Reeves and put Cowboy Bebop on the posters. Why the hell do the fans have to convince production companies not to make a bad film? It's suppose to be the other way around when they want us to see the films.
They always say they respect the story and the themes. It's lip service. Who in their right mind will go out and tell the truth that they are just going to make a film they want, and screw the fans that make a built in audience? I'm sure they said the same thing when made the Jurassic Park: Lost World movie. I read the book. Out of the entire film there were maybe three things that were like the book.
By the way, if I don't hear from you before then. Happy Thanksgiving!
Post by AleM (38 posts) See mini bio Level 5
@FoxxFireArt: Reeves is a good actor, he may have a lot of bad films in his career, but he has a lot of good ones too. He's performance in "Devil's Advocate" was remarkable, but I have to agree with you, he doesn't follow a Shakesperean style with his acting, meaning his voice isn't so powerful. This also makes me very skeptical with the idea of seeing him as Spike.
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