Takashi Miike is the cinematic equivalent of a machine: He makes about a couple of movies every year, resulting in a prolific directorial resume of over 75 projects since his start back in the early '90s (impressive!). Miike is not what you would call "widely appealing," but he has gathered a cult following around the world with his often strange, violent, perverse projects that include the insane Ichi the Killer, the disturbing Audition and the jaw-dropping, boundary-pushing Visitor Q (to name but a few).
However, he's not just about being perverse and edgy as he also makes some really gentle movies such as The Big People in China, or even lighthearted kid's movies like Zebraman. His back catalog is as diverse as you're likely to get, and he's continuing branch out with his latest project, a shogun-era epic called Thirteen Assassins.
Miike has managed to grab himself a couple of Oscar-winning producers in the form of Toshiaka Nakazawa and Jeremy Thomas, who have partnered to help make Thirteen Assassins. Based on the 1963 movie of the same name, the film follows a group of Thirteen Assassins who band together on a secret suicide mission to defeat an evil lord. Trouble is, they underestimate the sheer size of the lord's team of bodyguards...
Nakazawa is re-teaming with Miike after having worked with him before on the aforementioned The Bird People in China and the recent samurai slash-fest Sukiyaki Western Django. Although Thomas hasn't worked with Miike before, he says he is delighted to be working with the "wonderful Japanese filmmakers like Toshiaki Nakazawa and Takashi Miike, whose work speaks for itself as being amongst the most successful and innovative coming from Japan."
By the look of most Miike movies it would seem the director has only ever made original work not based on anything - however that isn't necessarily true. Miike's upcoming adaptation of Yatterman, and Ichi the Killer were based on a cartoon series and a manga series, respectively; Audition and Sabu were both based on novels. Miike isn't a stranger to crafting his own unique movies out of something that has come before.
Miike is remaking 1963's The Thirteen Assassins.
Although Thirteen Assassins would be based on a movie from the early '60s, I doubt Miike's remake will resemble it beyond it being about, well... thirteen assassins. I'm sure it will be reminiscent of Miike's crazy filmmaking style - I just wonder if it will resemble Sukiyaki Western Django, which, although it wasn't his best work by a long-shot, was completely loopy, over-the-top and insane... but in a good way!
Miike will be 50 years old next year and yet he's showing absolutely no signs of slowing his work rate. Yatterman already premiered at New York Film Festival back in February (although I'm sure he will be busy promoting it in other countries for a while), and Miike has a sequel to his film Crows ZERO from a couple of years ago. Screen Rant reported on his interest in making an Afro Samurai movie in February, so that may be another thing that gets added to his 'to do' list at some point in the near future.
Do you like the sound of Miike's Thirteen Assassins? Are you a fan of the filmmaker in general?
Thirteen Assassins is set to start shooting this July.