Thomas, Nakazawa to make Miike pic

Producers Jeremy Thomas and Toshiaki Nakazawa are teaming to make helmer Takashi Miike’s samurai pic “Thirteen Assassins.”

Project, which is set in the shogun era and follows 13 assassins who come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord, is based on Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 film of the same name.

Thomas’ U.K.-based Recorded Picture Co. will co-produce with Nakazawa, who produced the foreign language film Oscar winner “Departures.”

Hanway Films, which Thomas founded in 1998, will handle international sales. Toho has acquired Japanese rights.

Principal photography starts July in Japan’s Yamagature Prefecture.

Nakazawa previously worked with Miike on Quentin Tarantino starrer “Sukiyaki Western Django” andThe Bird People in China.”

Thomas has a long history of working with Asian directors and on Asian subject matter.

He raised most of the money for Bernardo Bertolucci’s $25 million “The Last Emperor” independently, at one point even scouring phone books for sources of finance, and also obtained permission from the Chinese authorities to lense in the Forbidden City. Pic, which was released in 1987, won nine Academy Awards, including best picture.

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