'47 Ronin' Set Pics: Vibrant Samurai Armor & Keanu Reeves

The legend of forty-seven samurai who set out to avenge the death of their leader is based on a real-life incident in the early 18th century. Seeing how the story is a famous one that reflects many coveted values of Japanese society, it's no surprise that the tale has been adapted into cinematic form several times. Now the legend is getting the big-budget Hollywood treatment, in the form of a 3D project titled 47 Ronin.

47 Ronin began production earlier this year, under the direction of Carl Erik Rinsch, a Ridley Scott protégé who was (at one point) attached to direct Prometheus back when it was a straight-forward Alien prequel. Rinsch was also previously attached to helm a new version of Logan's Run, but eventually settled on 47 Ronin as his feature-length directorial debut, instead.

Keanu Reeves headlines 47 Ronin, as you will note in the official plot synopsis below:

Kai (Reeves), is an outcast who joins Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada ), the leader of the 47 Ronin. Together they seek vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed their master and banished their kind. To restore honor to their homeland, the warriors embark upon a quest that challenges them with a series of trials that would destroy ordinary warriors.

Reeves has described Kai in 47 Ronin as "an outsider, a kind of half-breed with a mysterious past." While the character was clearly designed in part to allow for a Caucasian Hollywood star (even one with some Chinese heritage, like Reeves) to sign on and make the project more bankable, the bulk of the remainder of the cast is actually Japanese. Likewise, judging by the early images of costumes and architecture from the 47 Ronin set, the film is aiming to be more of a culturally-authentic recreation of the legend.

Check out said 47 Ronin set pics in the gallery below:

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Penny Rose (the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) was responsible for designing the colorful and decorated outfits in 47 Ronin, which also boasts cinematography by frequent Scott collaborator John Mathieson (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven). The visual design of the film is openly acknowledged as being influenced by the impressionistic artistic style of filmmakers like Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) and will be captured in cinematic form via the Arri Alexas 3D camera system - the same type used on Martin Scorsese's acclaimed 3D pic, Hugo, and Ang Lee's upcoming literary adaptation, Life of Pi.

That's all to say: 47 Ronin should look great, in terms of production design, cinematography, and even 3D effects.

The 47 Ronin script was co-penned by Chris Morgan (Wanted, Fast Five) and Hossein Amini (The Wings of the Dove, Drive), so it should be a mashup of Hollywood-style blockbuster action and more mediative drama. It remains to be seen if Rinsch can deliver a final product that strikes a nice balance between those two thematic approaches. Having an action star like Reeves (who does best when playing the strong silent type, like in 47 Ronin) should hopefully help, rather than hurt, in that regard.


Look for 47 Ronin to hit theaters around the U.S. on November 21st, 2012.

Source: Market Saw (via Latino Review)

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