Monday, December 15, 2008

Yoshitaro Nomura's 1961 noir mystery "Zero Focus" to be remade

by Chris MaGee

Yoshitaro Nomura's 1961 Hitchcock-inspired film "Zero Focus" is being remade. Does this upset me? Kind of. The film which tells the story of a woman (Yoshiko Kuga) who searches for her husband after he disappears on a business trip is nearly perfect in its pacing, structure and mood. I could easily say that "Zero Focus" is one of my favorite mystery films of all time, if not the favorite. Of course a lot of the credit for the success of the film is Nomura's skillful adaptation of its source material: the 1959 mystery novel of the same name by famed Japanese mystery author Seicho Matsumoto . Nomura and Matsumoto enjoyed a lengthy professional relationship with the two collaborating on movie adaptations of eight of the author's books, and it seems like this is the reason for this upcoming remake.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Seicho Matsumoto, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 84, so to commemorate the occasion Toho has tapped director Isshin Inudo to helm a remake of "Zero Focus". The good news is that Inudo, who previously brought us the 2005 drama "La Maison de Himiko", will be staying faithful to the original film and won't be shifting the storyline to the present day, which if you've seen Nomura's original you'd know would make zero sense.

Casting is still underway and filming is set to begin in February on "Zero Focus" version 2.0. Toho plans to release the film in the fall of 2009. Thanks to Variety Asia Online and Tokyograph for the details on this.

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