Cannes 2012: John Woo Set to Remake Classic Japanese Mafia Pic 'Youth of the Beast'

John Woo P 2012

The update will be titled "Day of the Beast."

CANNES -- John Woo will direct Day of the Beast, a remake of Seijun Suzuki's celebrated 1963 film about the Japanese mafia.

Woo and Terence Chang's Lion Rock Productions will produce with the Nikkatsu Corporation, home of Suzuki's Youth of the Beast.

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The English-language production was announced as Nikkatsu, Japan’s oldest major movie studio, celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year.

"This remake is my salute to the great films and filmmakers produced by Nikkatsu's 100 years in cinema history. It is exciting for me as well as an honor," Woo said in announcing the project.

Set in Tokyo, Day of the Beast follows a Western outsider with a grim past as he becomes embroiled in a global turf war between Yakuza (Japanese mafia) and old-school Cold War Russian mobsters.

Woo will direct from a script by Rob Frisbee. He, Chang and Nikkatsu's Naoki Sato are producers, with Lori Tilkin, Aki Sugihara and Yoko Asakura executive producing.

"Among Nikkatsu's 6,000-plus film library, this is one of our most revered titles. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. Woo and are excited he is directing this film for the international market," Sato said.

Chang added he's been "obsessed" with remaking Youth of the Beast for a decade.