Back in August, we reported that Ken Watanabe, best known for his roles in The Last Samurai, Inception and Letters from Iwo Jima, would be headlining a Japanese remake of the Oscar-winning Clint Eastwood movie Unforgiven, titled Yurusarezaru Mono.
Production has been moving along and the film is currently being shot in northern Japan in a remote area of Hokkaido. Press was recently invited to the set and today we get our first look at Watanabe as a samurai with a violent past named Kamata Juube, courtesy of Tokyo Hive. Pictured in the first look image below with Watanabe is Sato Koichi (Sukiyaki Western Django) as the feared local police cheif portrayed by Gene Hackman in the original.
The film takes place after the collapse of the Edo shogunate in 1880 and follows Juube, who has settled down with his wife Ainu. His violent past comes back to haunt him as he picks up his sword to work as a bounty hunter as a means of escaping poverty.
"Similar to the original character played by Clint Eastwood, Juube has been staying away from alcohol ever since he met his wife. Personally, I'm trying to do the same thing during filming," Watanabe said.
Watanabe also expressed his anxiety of filming in the remote area known for wild brown bears, no cell phone reception and very few local inhabitants.
"It feels like the land of Hokkaido is slowly being taken into your body. This area is only inhabited by those bears. A brown bear can appear anytime, so you always get frightened as soon as it starts to rustle somewhere," Watanabe said.
The film is being directed by Lee Sang-il, best known for the award-winning 2006 dramedy Hula Girls. Filming will continue next month and is scheduled to conclude at the end of November.
Yurusarezaru Mono is slated for a release sometime in fall 2013.