MTV Movies Blog (US), December 9, 2008

Keanu Reeves Dons Samurai Outfit For Feudal Epic '47 Ronin'

by Elisabeth Rappe

Keanu Reeves knows kung-fu - but does he know how to wield a katana? He's going to have to learn, because according to Variety, he is set to be the star of "47 Ronin" for Universal Pictures. The film lacks a director, but is being penned by Chris Morgan, who will be tailoring the story to suit Reeves' half-Asian heritage.

"47 Ronin" is based on a true story of a band of samurai swordsmen who avenged the death of their master in 18th century Japan. Their master attacked a corrupt court official, Kira, a crime that saw him forced to commit seppuku. His masterless band of samurai swore to avenge their master's death, though they knew they would be severely punished in doing so. Their successful attack on Kira has gone down into national legend, and they are still revered in Japan today.

The big screen version will be be highly stylized, mixing fantasy elements with gritty battle scenes, making it a cross between "Lord of the Rings" and "300." This seems like a film that might cause a fair amount of controversy in Japan not only in its choice of a lead actor, but by toying with a story that is a beloved legend. It sounds like a fantastic story, though, and I hope it's done with respect.

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