Nichols ‘High’ on Kurosawa remake

Mamet to write, Rudin to produce Miramax film

Mike Nichols is set to direct a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s “High and Low” for Miramax Films.

Written by David Mamet and produced by Scott Rudin, the film hasn’t started casting. Martin Scorsese originally commissioned Mamet to write the screenplay back in 1999; it took two years for Rudin to pull the rights together. Scorsese likely will executive produce.

Kurosawa’s 1963 detective thriller starring Toshiro Mifune was based on the Ed McBain novel “King’s Ransom,” about a businessman who is ruined when he honorably pays ransom to kidnappers who mistakenly nabbed his driver’s son.

Several Kurosawa films have been remade by Hollywood, most notably “The Seven Samurai” (“The Magnificent Seven”) and “Rashomon” (“The Outrage”). Steven Spielberg is developing a remake of “Ikiru” at DreamWorks, possibly to direct. And the Weinstein Co. has been developing another “Seven Samurai” remake.

Nichols’ last film was “Charlie Wilson’s War.” starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, earned an Oscar nomination for supporting actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Rudin exec produced Nichols’ 2004 release “Closer.” starring Roberts and Clive Owen, based on Patrick Marber’s play, and produced the helmer’s “Regarding Henry,” starring Harrison Ford, in 1991.

While Rudin backed out of Stephen Daldry’s upcoming “The Reader” after turf battles with Harvey Weinstein, he has plenty on his plate. Both “Revolutionary Road” and “Doubt” are set for December release from Paramount Vantage and Miramax, respectively.

Among his 2009 releases are an untitled Nancy Meyers comedy at Columbia starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, and Wes Anderson’s animated “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” voiced by Streep and George Clooney and written by Noah Baumbach, who is also set to direct his next original, “Greenburg,” for Rudin.

The Coen brothers are adapting Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” as well as Western classic “True Grit” for their Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men” producer. Steve Zaillian is adapting “A Thousand Splendid Suns” at Sony, while bestseller “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is set up at Miramax with “The Motorcycle Diaries” writer and director Jose Rivera and Walter Salles.