It was two years ago that plans were announced to adapt Akira Kurosawa‘s RASHOMON into a TV series and it would seem that the project has finally found a home. It was reported today that Amblin Television will be teaming with HBO Max to develop a series based on Kurosawa’s film that will be penned by Billy Ray (THE COMEY RULE) and Virgil Williams (MUDBOUND).
Rather than a direct adaptation, the HBO Max series will center on a “a grisly sexual assault and murder and the unraveling mystery as seen through multiple characters’ competing narratives. It will explore themes of the truth and subjective point of view in a modern setting. Each episode will detail the perceived truth of an individual character — putting each at the center of the story and telling the events surrounding the murder from their point of view.” The original 1950 film told the story of the rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband, as recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, a woodcutter, and the samurai’s ghost. “Our partnership on Rashomon is based on our mutual pledge to make every single episode, every scene, and every character of this show a loving homage to Kurosawa’s talent as an artist. That’s our true north,” said Virgil Williams and Billy Ray in a joint statement. Amblin Partners co-presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey added:
Truth has become increasingly fractured in this age of cable news and social media’s ‘say it and it’s true’ culture. Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece was not just a murder mystery; it was a revolution in storytelling, as cinema’s most impactful and influential early exploration of subjective points of view and flawed narration. Seventy years after the film’s release, the legacy of Rashomon is indisputable and its central themes more relevant than ever. Our series will honor the impact of the original work and explore the age-old concept of objective truth versus subjective perspective in our modern times.
The project also has the full support and blessing of the Kurosawa family, with Hisao Kurosawa saying, “I am delighted to work with Amblin Partners and HBO Max to reimagine Rashomon for today’s audience. I am excited to see my dad’s vision through this inspirational story kept alive and made accessible to a new generation.” RASHOMON is a true classic, and it will be interesting to see how a TV adaptation will fare after the original has seen decades of imitation.