Chris Morgan Describes '47 Ronin' As Similar To '300' And 'Gladiator'
by Josh Wigler
The legend of "The 47 Ronin" is widely known throughout Japanese culture, but it's a less commonly told tale in other societies — including Hollywood. That's all going to change in light of the recent announcement of a "47 Ronin" film adaptation starring Keanu Reeves, whose half-Asian heritage will be a focal point of the movie.
"Wanted" screenwriter Chris Morgan penned the script for "47 Ronin" and went into detail with MTV News about the film's plot, specifically referring to some beloved films that are tonally similar to the upcoming movie.
"It's this great, 'Gladiator'-esque, '300'-like big action movie with samurai and ninja," Morgan said.
Although some "47 Ronin" enthusiasts have their doubts about the "Fast and Furious" scribe tackling the beloved Japanese tale, Morgan points to his long history as a "huge fan of samurai culture," which he backs up with extensive knowledge of the "Ronin" story.
"'The 47 Ronin' is a true story that took place around 1700-1701," Morgan said. "It's a time in Japanese culture when it was all about [the] bushido [code] and honor, and putting internal things over external things — swords that were made to be functional instead of ornamental, that kind of stuff."
He went on to describe the story as "this turning point in the culture when that started to shift. Society started to be more about external kind of things. The story is about these samurai whose lord is killed in an unfair way."
Upon the death of their master, the samurai are shamed into becoming the titular ronin - a Japanese word meaning lordless samurai. Despite the great wound to their pride and spirit, the newly anointed ronin rediscover their reason to fight.
"They make this huge plan over [the course of] a year to avenge their dead lord against the guy who brought about his downfall," Morgan said. "And they sacrifice everything to do it. As a result of taking this guy on against impossible odds, they inspire the Japanese people to return to their ideals of greatness and honor."