Takashi Miike’s 13 ASSASSINS Opens in US April 29th
Beginning this month, 13 ASSASSINS (十三人の刺客, Jusan-nin no Shikaku, 2010) will be distributed in the United States by Magnet Releasing, a division of Magnolia Pictures (THE HOST, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, MONSTERS). Cult director Takeshi Miike (ICHI THE KILLER, AUDITION) delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan’s feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a wartorn future.
13 ASSASSINS is now available on Video On Demand and starts a limited theatrical run on April 29th. Check the Magnolia Pictures website for theater locations and dates.
The following press notes and images are courtesy of Magnet Releasing/Magnolia Pictures…
Sedic International and Magnet Releasing in Association with Sedic Deux and Rakueisha Present a Film by Takashi Miike
126 min., 2.35:1, 35mm
Principal photography for 13 ASSASSINS was accomplished in summer 2009 on a large open-air set in Tsuruoka in the Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan. The film is a remake of Eichi Kudo’s 1963 black-and-white movie THE THIRTEEN ASSASSINS. 13 ASSASSINS was executive produced by Toshiaki Nakazawa (producer of DEPARTURES, 2009 Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Film) for Japan’s Sedic International, Jeremy Thomas (Bernardo Bertolucci’s THE LAST EMPEROR, Nagisa Oshima’s MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE, Takeshi Kitano’s BROTHER) for Recorded Picture Company (UK), and Takashi Hirajo of Japan’s TV Asahi Corporation. Nakazawa previously worked with Miike on SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, ANDROMEDIA, YAKUZA DEMON and THE BIRD PEOPLE OF CHINA.
TAKASHI MIIKE (Director)
Takashi Miike has become synonymous with the promise of a unique onscreen experience, regardless of the genre. Highly prolific, Miike is credited with over 80 films since making his directorial debut in the early 90s. Landmark films in Miike’s illustrious career include: AUDITION, ICHI THE KILLER, ONE MISSED CALL, THE GREAT YOKAI WAR, THE CITY OF LOST SOULS, VISITOR Q, GRAVEYARD OF HONOR, SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, YATTERMAN, the CROWS ZERO films and the DEAD OR ALIVE yakuza trilogy.
Although his films are often associated with black humor, inventive violence and audacious style, Miike has shown his versatility in other genres: children’s films (ZEBRAMAN), sensitive dramas (THE BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA), period pieces (SABU) and even a horror musical (THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS).
Born in 1960 near Osaka, Miike harbored a passion for motorbike racing and a disdain for academics growing up. He attended the Yokohama Vocational School of Broadcast and Film and then worked for nearly a decade in television. Miike became an assistant director in film to directors like Shohei Imamura and Hideo Onchi, and Japan’s “V-Cinema” (direct to video) boom of the early 90s helped his break into directing his own films. For years, he alternated between V-Cinema and higher-budget productions.
In 2005, Miike directed “Demon Pond,” a Kabuki-style play. Miike has also occasionally appeared as an actor in his films as well as others’, notably Eli Roth’s HOSTEL.
COMMENTS FROM TAKASHI MIIKE
“There is no hard historical proof to back up this legendary battle in 13 ASSASSINS. However, I do believe it’s true that samurai did not fear risking their lives, and they fought against their enemies regardless how many they were. The pleasure of making a Jidaigeki (samurai period drama) film is that the characters can achieve in only one night what would otherwise take 100 days in a contemporary story… I always seek universal themes when making a Jidaigeki film. Love beget Revenge and Justice beget Violence.”
“For any film that I make, I never see similar films for reference. The most important thing about remaking a classic movie is how much you respect the original movie. I didn’t worry about putting my own mark on the remake since I respected the original film. I have never sought to impose my personality on a film. My philosophy as a director has always been to set aside my ego and just enjoy making the film.”
“I have worked with the same sound team in several films. The team pretty much understands my goal when they see the edited film. Even if there are misunderstandings, that only bring something new to the film… I have been working with composer Koji Endo for more than 10 years. He’s a genius when it comes to hearing what the film needs.”
“Like the sound team, I usually work with the same CGI team. I do give very detailed instructions, but the team understands my basic taste even if I don’t elaborate. With CGI, I do not create things that are not possible to create in reality. I only create real things that just look better when created with CGI.”
“I may be chasing a dream that I might never accomplish. I find creative freedom through low budget projects. I seek out even more freedom through the experiences of making films like 13 ASSASSINS. And I think it’s about time to go wild once again!”
KOJI YAKUSHO (Shinzaemon Shimada)
Koji Yakusho is recognized as one of Japan’s finest actors after his many acclaimed performances in domestic as well as international productions, such as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s BABEL, Rob Marshall’s MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and Francois Girard’s SILK.
Yakusho is a frequent collaborator with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, having appeared in several of his films: TOKYO SONATA, RETRIBUTION (Sakebi), DOPPELGANGER, SEANCE, CHARISMA, LICENSE TO LIVE and CURE. He has also appeared in several films by Masato Harada: THE CHOICE OF HERCULES, SPELLBOUND (Jubaku), KAMIKAZE TAXI and BOUNCE KO-GALS.
Born in 1956 near Nagasaki, Japan, Yakusho began his career in theater and TV in the early 80s. He was introduced to international audiences by his roles in the now classic Japanese films such as Shohei Imamura’s THE EEL (Unagi), Masayuki Suo’s SHALL WE DANCE? and Juzo Itami’s TAMPOPO.
Yakusho’s other film credits include Tetsuya Nakashima’s PACO AND THE MAGICAL BOOK, Satoshi Isaka’s WALKING MY LIFE, Masayuki Suo’s I JUST DIDN’T DO IT, Koki Mitani’s SUITE DREAMS (The Uchoten Hotel), Shinji Higuchi’s LORELEI, Izuru Narushima’s THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED, Mamoru Hoshi’s UNIVERISTY OF LAUGHS, Kon Ichikawa’s DORAHEITA, Imaura’s WARM WATER UNDER A RED BRIDGE, Kichitaro Negishi’s KIZUNA, Shinji Aoyama’s EUREKA and LAKESIDE MURDER CASE, Yoshimitsu Morita’s LOST PARADISE (Shitsurakuren) and Toshio Goto’s UNDER AURORA. Yakusho made his directorial debut in 2009 with TOAD’S OIL, in which he also starred. Yakusho will next be seen in Shigemichi Sugita’s THE LAST RONIN.
Yakusho made his directorial debut in 2009 with TOAD’S OIL, in which he also starred. Yakusho will next be seen in Shigemichi Sugita’s THE LAST RONIN.
Director: Takashi Miike
Original Story: Shoichirou Ikemiya
Screenplay: Daisuke Tengan
Music: Koji Endo
Executive Producers: Toshiaki Nakazawa (Sedic International Inc. – Japan), Jeremy Thomas (Recorded Picture Company – UK), Takashi Hirajo (TV Asahi Corporation – Japan)
Cinematographer: Nobuyasu Kita
Lighting Designer: Yoshimi Watabe
Sound Recordist Jun Nakamura
Art Director: Yuji Hayashida
Set Decoration: Akira Sakamoto, Osamu Kubota
Editor: Kenji Yamashita
Sound Effects: Kenji Shibazaki
Character Designer: Isao Tsuge
Costume Designer: Kazuhiro Sawataishi
Producers: Michihiko Umezawa (TV Asahi Corporation), Minami Ichikawa (Toho Co., Ltd), Toichiro Shiraishi (Dentsu Inc.), Takahiro Ohno (Sedic Deux Inc.), Hirotsugu Yoshida (Sedic Deux Inc.), Shigeji Maeda (Rakueisha Co., Ltd)
Co-Producers: Kazuomi Suzaki (TV Asahi Corporation), Hisashi Usui (Toho Co., Ltd)
CGI Producer: Misako Saka
Line Producers: Toshiki Komatsu, Tatsuya Mukai
Casting Director: Yuriko Kitada
Producer (Shonai Unit): Masaaki Ujo
Assistant Directors: Kimiyoshi Adachi, Takuma Yoshimi
Production Manager: Shinya Zenda
Koji Yakusho: Shinzaemon Shimada
Takayuki Yamada: Shinrokuro (Shinzaemon’s Nephew)
Yusuke Iseya: Koyata (13th Assassin from the Forest)
Goro Inagaki: Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira
Masachika Ichimura: Hanbei Kitou (Naritsugu’s Head Samurai)
Mikijiro Hira: Sir Doi (Top Shogun Official)
Hiroki Matsukata: Kuranaga
Ikki Sawamura: Mitsuhashi
Arata Furuta: Sahara (Samurai Who Requests Payment)
Tsuyoshi Ihara: Hirayama (Shinzaemon’s Apprentice)
Masataka Kubota: Ogura (The Youngest Samurai)
Sousuke Takaoka: Hioki (Kuranaga’s Subordinate)
Seiji Rokkaku: Otake (Kuranaga’s Subordinate)
Koen Kondo: Horii (Mitsuhashi’s Subordinate)
Yuma Ishigaki: Higuchi (Mitsuhashi’s Subordinate)
Kazuki Namioka: Ishizuka
Kazue Fukiishi: Tsuya/Upashi (Shinrokuro’s Wife/Koyata’s Lover)
Koshiro Matsumoto: Yukie Makino (Lord Owari’s Subject)
Mitsuki Tanimura: Chise Makino (Uneme’s Wife)
Takumi Saito: Uneme Makino
Shinnosuke Abe: Genshiro Deguchi (Servant Who Fetches Visitor List)
Masaaki Uchino: Zusho Mamiya (Akashi Elder Who Commits Hara-Kiri)
Ken Mitsuishi: Asakawa (Naritsugu’s Henchman)