Nakata Scares Up 'Haunters' Remake

J-horror meister inspired by Korean chiller

HONG KONG — Nakata Hideo, the Japanese helmer of the “Ring” horror series and “Dark Water,” will next direct a remake of Korean sci-fi chiller “Haunters” (pictured).

Using the working title “Monster,” production of the Japanese-language retread gets underway later this month, with leading 30-something stars Fujiwara Tatsuya and Yamada Takayuki in the lead roles.

The story pitches together a psychic with supernatural powers, and the ability to control other people’s minds, against the one man who is able to resist him.

Production is by Nakata’s Twins Japan shingle for Nippon Television (NTV), which is a financier and will handle international sales. Watanabe Yusuke penned the adapted Japanese screenplay.

“When they came to us they explained that they were looking for a project that Nakata and Fujiwara could work on together,” said Lee Eugene, of Zip Cinema, producer of the 2010 Korean original that was written and directed by Kim Min-seok. “ ‘Haunters’ was a film that they watched over and again, and which they wanted to remake urgently with Japanese stars and a Japanese style.”

Fujiwara, the antihero star of Takashi Miike’s Cannes competition film “Shield of Straw,” previously worked with Nakata on “The Incite Mill: 7 Day Death Game” and “L: Change The World,” the final film in the hit “Death Note” franchise.
Nakata enjoyed considerable international success with his 1998 “Ring” remade in English as “The Ring” and his 2002 “Dark Water” remade in 2005. Nakata himself directed “The Ring Two,” the 2005 DreamWorks-backed reworking of his 1999 “Ring 2.”

Zip Cinema and United Pictures, the principal Korean investor behind “Haunters,” retain first option on the Korean rights to “Monster.”

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