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Mike Nichols Remakes Kurosawa

With a Mamet script for High and Low

Y'know, there's "quality pedigree" and then there's this: Mike Nichols has signed on to direct a remake of Akira Kurosawa's High And Low, with Martin Scorsese and Scott Rudin in producing roles and a script by David Mamet. While in principle remakes are not always a good thing, this one's shaping up to be a doozy.

The plot sees a company executive (originally Toshiro Mifune) mortgage all he owns to raise the money for a crucial business deal that will give him control of the National Shoe Company. But at the same time, kidnappers abduct his son and demand a ransom of almost the full amount. He is willing to pay up - but then discovers that the kidnappers snatched his driver's son by mistake, and must decide if that boy's life is still worth his family's future.

While the original film is distinctively Japanese, it's actually based on an Ed McBain novel called King's Ransom, so this is another Seven Samurai-like occasion where Kurosawa took inspiration from Hollywood and Hollywood has taken it right back from him.

Scorsese originally commissioned Mamet to write the script back in 1999, but is now expected simply to executive produce. Still, whatever way you look at it, this has "prestige picture" written all over it.