Sunday 7 August 2011
I can just imagine the scene...
A busy Takashi Miike is summoned to the high reaches of an office tower and strides purposefully into a boardroom. Japanese and UK producers sit around a long oval table, eyes fixed on the director of some 80 titles in a mere 20 years.
Miike is respectful, but feels out of place in the offices of rigid studio filmmaking. He stands quietly until he is addressed by the head of Toho studios:
"Modern day audiences want nothing more than love stories, j-pop and schoolgirls. We need your help to bring us back to the halycon days of samurai films by the legendary directors of this great country."
"I'd love to help", says Miike, "but I've got 17 films in the pipeline. Then I need to figure out what I'm doing next year."
"Perhaps you don't understand the severity of the problem...". The Toho producer's voice trails off as he starts a short video showing scene after scene of young adults and teenagers from around the world talking about rom coms and teen idol showcases. Miike winces, but stands firm. Until, that is, he hears one young man say:
"Yeah, samurai films are OK, I guess, but they aren't really action films. Not like Michael Bay!"
He bows his head, pauses to gather his thoughts, then raises his eyes to look straight at the man from Toho and says:
"I will accomplish your wish..."
And boy-howdy did he ever with "13 Assassins":
I didn't even have to take any screenshots from the final half hour of the film...