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Warner Japan tackles samurai pic

Distrib plans for a 2011 New Year's release

TOKYO — Warner Japan has announced the production of “The Last Chushingura” (Saigo no Chushingura), a period drama for the Japanese market based on a famous true tale of samurai revenge. Release is skedded for the 2011 New Year’s holiday season.

Shigemichi Sugita, best known for directing the long-running TV series “From the North Country” (Kita no kuni kara), helms, while Koji Yakusho (“Shall We Dance?”) will star together with Koichi Sato (“Sukiyaki Western Django”), Narumi Yasuda and Koji Yamamoto.

The pic will start shooting on Nov. 11 in Kyoto and is skedded for completion next spring.

The Chushingura story, about 47 loyal retainers who plot to revenge their unjustly executed lord with death as their only reward, has been a staple of Bunraku and Kabuki for centuries and has been filmed more than 80 times, starting in the silent era. The most recent pic was the 1994 “The 47 Ronin,” starring Ken Takakura as the leader of the conspirators.

The new pic focuses on two survivors of the revenge attack, played by Yakusho and Sato, who meet 16 years after the event.

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