by Chris MaGee
It was just a couple days ago that I was being interviewed by Coffin Jon of Varied Celluloid's VCinema Podcast and we were talking about how so many Japanese film fans seem to get into the genre (although it's hardly a genre, but for lack of a better term) to get away from empty, formulaic Hollywood films, especially the endless remakes, reboots and re-imaginings that the major studios have been churning out the past few years. The thing is that people soon discover that the Japanese film industry is rife with these type of films as well. From the TV series spin-offs to the anime-to-live-action reboots Japanese film studios are just as (if not more considering the state of the Japanese economy) concerned about the bottom line. One way that the major studios are beginning to try and get the biggest return on their investments is to remake Hollywood films. Yes, that's right. Us Japanese film fans have been complaining about this for years with unnecessary remakes of "Ringu", "Pulse", "Dark Water", etc., but now Japan is getting into the act. There has already been the remake of Alexander Payne's indie comedy "Sideways", there are plans to remake the classic romance "An Affair to Remember" and now... well, now one of the biggest Hollywood hots of the 1990s will be getting a Japanese reworking.
Cinema Today (via Nippon Cinema) is reporting that Paramount Pictures Japan and Shochiku are going to be remaking Jerry Zucker's supernatural 1990 romance "Ghost". For all of you who are so much younger than me (I'm feeling so old!) the original starred Patrick Swayze as a man murdered by his business partner and Demi Moore as his mourning wife. Swayze's character becomes a ghost and must reveal who killed him from beyond the grave as well as attempt to contact his wife to ease her grief. For this remake Paramount and Shochiku have enlisted the help of Japanese super producer Taka Ichise, one of the men who was responsible for the J-Horror Boom with his films "Ringu" and "Dark Water" (as well as the man who said the Japanese film industry has "become a wasteland"... Hmmmm...) to produce the film. Sitting in the directors chair is Taro Otani, who helmed both the TV series and film version of the yakuza high school comedy "Gokusen", and in the roles that Swayze and Moore made famous will be Korean actor Seung-heon Song and actress Nanako Matsushima. Matsushima is no stranger to ghosts as she played the reporter investigating a killer videotape in Hideo Nakata's "Ringu".
So, for better or worse it looks like we'll be seeing this "Ghost" remake as soon as this fall. Now, have you say in the comments as to whether you think it will actually work as a film.