47 Ronin Japan Photocall

With 47 Ronin opening in cinemas this month, we decided to take a look at some of the best pictures of the cast from the photocall in Japan!

When director Carl Rinsch read the original treatment of the script, he admits he was intrigued by the timeless love, elaborate settings and fantastical creatures that were set against an actual historical backdrop.  Recalls the filmmaker: “I knew a bit about the story of the Ronin, the traditional history of it, but of course this is a creative iteration of that.”  After meeting with Universal to discuss, Rinsch was sold on the project that he wanted to make as his feature debut.

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One of the earliest efforts involved in casting 47 Ronin was to find a performer with the presence, physicality and stamina to play the demanding role of the film’s hero, Kai, a figure of two worlds.  Keanu Reeves, beloved by worldwide audiences for his work in blockbuster epics such as The Matrix trilogy, in which he gave a human center to a complex and imaginative fantasy world, was an ideal choice and became a true partner in the production.

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Hiroyuki Sanada has received six nominations for Japanese Academy Awards, and has won twice.  For the cast and crew, the selection of Sanada as Oishi, the leader of the samurai, meant this Western twist on the story of the 47 Ronin had earned the seal of Japanese approval.  Sanada bore the responsibility of making sure this new take on the beloved tale stayed true to its source, even as it introduced fresh and fantastical elements.

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Oscar nominated Rinko Kikuchi, who came to worldwide attention with her stunning performance in Babel and was most recently seen in Pacific Rim, discusses her exposure to the legendary tale: “I’ve known this story since learning about it at school, but this film will be quite different from versions Japanese audiences have seen before.  The creatures, sets and characters are totally new.”  Brought onto the production to play the duplicitous Witch, the actress knew there would be challenging days ahead.  “My character doesn’t exist in the original version, but she adds a fantasy element to this story and I had a lot of fun with it.”

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Mika is desired not only by Kai, but also by the villainous Lord Kira, who seeks to claim all the land that belongs to Lord Asano.  To portray the antagonist, the filmmakers brought aboard Tadanobu Asano, who has crossed the globe with one of his breakout, signature portrayals in Ichi the Killer and rocketed to international fame as Thor’s fellow Asgardian, Hogun, in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World.

Asano explains a bit about his character’s motivation: “Mika is a very important person in Ako.  By controlling the princess he would be able to obtain Ako, which is something that he has always wanted.  On a more personal level, he sees in Mika a quality of love that he doesn’t possess; he wants to somehow control that power to love that she symbolizes.”

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47 Ronin opens in cinemas 19 Dec 2013

Images courtesy of United International Pictures Singapore

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