Do you want to see a visitor from another planet wielding a sword? Keanu Reeves, who plays the alien Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still (opening on Friday), will play a samurai swordsman in 47 Ronin, an epic action tale of 18th century vengeance, according to Variety.
Described as mixing elements of The Lord of the Rings (fantasy) and Gladiator ("gritty battle scenes"), the film aims to tell a stylized version of a true story that took place at the beginning of the 18th century in Japan. A group of samurai became ronin (samurai without lord or master) after their master was forced to commit ritual suicide because, after repeated insults to his honor, he assaulted a court official. The 47 ronin eventually avenged the death of their master, even though they knew that they, in turn, would be required to commit suicide. Traditionally, the tale of the 47 ronin has been held up as an example of honor and other noble qualities. The story itself has been told numerous times in movies and television, and it's also served as loose inspiration for many other projects, such as John Frankenheimer's terrific Ronin (1998), with Robert DeNiro.
Keanu's 47 Ronin is being scripted by Chris Morgan, who co-wrote Wanted. Morgan is also the writer of the upcoming Fast & Furious and previously did The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Sakura: Blue-Eyed Samurai, about a 19th century woman training to be a samurai, so he has a track record of projects set in Japan, for whatever that's worth. 47 Ronin intends to start production next year, but a director must be selected first. Whoever else comes on board, this is being pitched as a very, very loose interpretation of the classic tale.