Keanu Reeves to lead '47 Ronin'
Chris Morgan to write Universal feature
by Michael Fleming
Keanu Reeves will star in "47 Ronin," an epic period film for Universal Pictures based on the true tale of a band of samurai swordsmen who avenged the death of their master in 18th century Japan. Chris Morgan, who co-wrote "Wanted" and penned the upcoming "Fast and Furious" for Universal, is writing the script. Scott Stuber will produce through his Stuber Prods. banner.
Reeves stars in sci-fi remake "The Day the Earth Stood Still," which Fox bows Friday.
In "47 Ronin," he will play one of the swordsmen; the group and their master are revered in Japan for their revenge attack on Dec. 14, 1702.
The film will tell a stylized version of the story, mixing fantasy elements of the sort seen in "The Lord of the Rings" pics, with gritty battle scenes akin to those in films such as "Gladiator."
Morgan is writing the script and tailoring it so that Reeves -- who's half-Asian -- can fit the role as one of the swordsmen. The intention is to begin shooting next year after a director is hired.
Walter Hamada and Chris Fenton will be exec producers.
Under his U-based shingle, Stuber is shooting the Vince Vaughn starrer "Couples Retreat" and is preparing for the release of the Joe Johnston-directed "The Wolfman," the Jennifer Aniston starrer "Traveling" and "Repossession Mambo." Stuber is prepping "Your Highness," with David Gordon Green to direct and Danny McBride to star.