Here’s a progression we never thought we’d write to open a story: from Akira Kurosawa to David Mamet to Chris Rock? But it’s true – Rock has signed on to rewrite Mamet’s version of Kurosawa’s High And Low for Mike Nichols.
The 1963 detective thriller saw Kurosawa himself adapting Evan Hunter’s novel King’s Ransom, which finds an executive named Kingo Gondo learning that his son has been snatched by kidnappers. He’s naturally ready to cough up a ransom… Until he learns that the criminals mistakenly took his chauffeur’s son instead.
Cue a tale of social mores and morals as Gondo debates between saving the boy or using the money for his corporate desires.
Martin Scorsese, who was attached as executive producer and possible director, tasked Mamet to write a new version it way back in 1999. But after languishing for years in development, the planned film re-merged back in 2008 with Mike Nichols attached.
Rock, however, is not as shocking a choice as you might think – he’s gained a reputation for adapting films from overseas, mostly notably writing and directing I Think I Love My Wife, which was a re-make of Eric Rohmer’s Chloe In The Afternoon, and he’s also grabbed the rights to tackle La Premiere Etoile, AKA The First Star.