FILM: 47 Ronin
CAST: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada and Ko Shibasaki
DIRECTOR: Carl Rinsch
In 18th-century Japan, Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) leads a group of Samurai whose master has been killed by the treacherous villain, Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano). Joined by a talented outcast named Kai (Keanu Reeves), the Ronin (Samurai without a master) seek to avenge the death of their beloved and respected master. However, Kai’s loyalty to the Ronin and the mission is tested when he falls for the deceased master’s young daughter, Mika (Ko Shibasaki).
‘Emperor’ is a story of love and understanding set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. On the staff of General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones), the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces, a leading Japanese expert, General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox) is charged with reaching a decision of historical importance: should Emperor Hirohito be tried and hanged as a war criminal? Interwoven is the story of Fellers’ love affair with Aya (Eriko Hatsune), a Japanese exchange student he had met years previously in the U.S. Memories of Aya and his quest to find her in the ravaged post-war landscape help Fellers to discover both his wisdom and his humanity and enable him to come to the momentous decision that changed the course of history and the future of two nations.
Much of the Japanese casting was overseen by producers Yoko Narahashi and Eugene Nomura, who have experience working within the Japanese film world. “Yoko really knows a lot about the Japanese acting scene and she has very good relationships with actors, so she and Eugene were able to bring us some amazing choices,” says director Peter Webber. “It’s one of the things I’m really excited about in ‘Emperor’; it will bring some wonderful Japanese actors to Western audiences for the first time.”
In the case of Takatarô Kataoka, who plays the ‘Emperor’, the filmmakers were won over in an early audition; only to find out he was a star Kabuki actor’s son who did not want to release him from their troupe’s regular shows. “Luckily, Yoko kept hanging on, telling them he’s the guy for the film,” recalls Nomura.
Kataoka says he was motivated by a story he is excited for people around the world to see. “It’s a beautiful film based on what really happened,” he says. “I’d like young people to discover this history and elder people to remember.”
Isao Natsuyagi, who plays the role of the Emperor’s envoy Sekiya, marvels at how the story of ‘Emperor’ seems to represent all sides in the battle for the future. “The core of the film is how people create a new era,” he summarizes. “It took two sides – MacArthur and his associates, and the Emperor and his associates — cooperating together for Japan to be reborn.”
“He understood what the right thing to do was and proceeded to get it done against all opposition,” Tommy Lee Jones told the Hollywood Reporter about his character.
For the first time in movie history, audiences will truly see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ is meant to be the ultimate immersive, big-screen adventure for families. Audiences are invited to meet dinosaurs more real than they’ve ever seen and embark on a thrilling prehistoric journey, where Patchi (voiced by Justin Long), an underdog dino, triumphs against all odds to become a hero for the ages.
‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ is a story about a dinosaur’s life and adventures, and we’ve gone to the ends of the world to film it,” says director Barry Cook, whose credits include the animated feature ‘Mulan’, co-directing the animated feature ‘Arthur Christmas’ and working in a variety of key creative capacities on ‘Aladdin’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘TRON’. Now, with ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’, Cook inhabits a world far away and long, long ago.
‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ informs our continuing fascination, if not obsession, with creatures that have been extinct for millions of years. The T. Rex and the Gorgosaurus are among the most fearsome predators to have ever walked the Earth, but kids (of all ages) can’t get enough of them. Dinosaurs spark our imaginations as much as any fictional creation does.
“Kids love dinosaurs, and they’re going to love ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ because it feels so real, has lots of humour and fun,” says John Leguizamo, who voices Alex, a prehistoric parrot who is Patchi’s best pal. “Plus, they’ll love the camaraderie between Patchi and Alex.”
Screenwriter John Collee’s tale introduces us to the movies’ newest hero: Patchi. Ever curious, always brave and unfailingly optimistic, Patchi pretty much has us at “hello” – when we meet him as a hatchling, and then share his adventures as he grows to adulthood. Patchi hails from a family and tribe of Pachyrhinosaurus (from the Greek for “thick-nosed lizard”) dinosaurs. He is far from being the biggest or toughest guy in the herd, so he must use his wits and his heart to compete for food with his larger brothers and sisters, particularly Scowler, the alpha male of the group who has ambitions to succeed his father as leader of the herd.
“Patchi is a diminutive outcast who faces all changes by believing in himself and trusting his inner courage,” says co-director Neil Nightingale. “At its heart, ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ is a classic coming of age tale. You have two rival brothers, a love story and an epic journey that presents a series of hurdles for Patchi to overcome.”
The herd’s migration leads the brothers and Juniper to their greatest battle, where Patchi summons his inner courage and strength to become the leader he was born to be.
The vast and colourful world of ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ provides the backdrop for a thrilling family-themed story with vivid and fun characters.
Moreover, no other motion picture has attempted to create dinosaurs that look this real and that interact with their environment in such an authentic way.
Bringing it all to life are the latest dinosaur research and discoveries, realistic designs created in collaboration with palaeontologists, cutting edge visual effects delivered by the award-winning company Animal Logic, and 3D wizardry from Cameron Pace Group (CPG).