Hong Kong Filmart: John Woo to Direct Remake of Japanese Thriller 'Manhunt'

Media Asia
John Woo

The legendary Hong Kong director will film his take on the Ken Takakura movie for Media Asia this year.

Hong Kong director John Woo will mark his return to the action thriller arena with a remake of the classic Japanese movie Manhunt, which revolves around a man framed for multiple murders and pursued by police while he tries to clear his name.

The movie will be produced by Media Asia and will begin shooting this year. Media Asia will start pre-sales on the movie at next week's Filmart in Hong Kong.

Manhunt is based on the Japanese novel Kimi yo Funnu no Kawa o Watare by Juko Nishimura, which was first adapted for the screen in Japan in 1976, starring legendary actor Ken Takakura, who died in November.

Peter Lam, chairman of Media Asia, said: "When I found out that John was a huge fan of the late Ken Takakura, I immediately gave him a call, trying to convince him to direct the film for us."

Media Asia said in a statement that it was "high time" to bring the story of Manhunt back to the big screen, and it bought the movie rights to the original novel from its Japanese publisher Tokuma Shoten Publishing.

In the original, a lawman played by Takakura is framed for robbery and rape, and sets out to clear his name. Face/Off and A Better Tomorrow director Woo is a long-time admirer.

"By chance I was mourning the loss of Takakura when Peter (Lam) called," said Woo, "and I accepted the challenge in a heartbeat."

Woo said he had always hoped to work with Takakura. Although they never did, they did collaborate during the funeral of Kinji Fukasaku, when Takakura read out in Japanese the eulogy prepared by Woo.

Manhunt was the first foreign film released in China after Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution ended, and it was a huge hit.

Woo, director of The Killer and Hard Boiled, is currently completing his two-part romantic war epic The Crossing.