13 Assassins is a Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Takashi Miike, known for his ultra-violent work in the horror genre. A samurai epic based on a true incident, the film was produced by Japanese producer Toshiaki Nakazawa, who won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Departures. It was executive-produced by Jeremy Thomas, a British producer with a reputation for breaking Asian titles into the international market, most notably Bernardo Bertolucci’s nine-time Oscar winner The Last Emperor, Nagisa Ôshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Takeshi Kitano’s Brother.
The film is a remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 black-and-white Japanese film of the same name, Jûsan-nin no shikaku. The screenplay was written by Daisuke Tengan. It’s nominated for Best Film at the 34th Japan Academy Prize.
It stars Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Gorô Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, Mikijiro Hira, Hiroki Matsukata, Ikki Sawamura, Arata Furuta, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Masataka Kubota, Sosuke Takaoka, Seiji Rokkaku, Yûma Ishigaki, Kôen Kondô.
Cult director Takeshi Miike delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan’s feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war-torn future.
The film was produced through Nakazawa’s entity Sedic International and Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company. Nakazawa had previously worked with Miike on Sukiyaki Western Django, both Young Thugs movies, Andromedia, Yakuza Demon, and The Bird People in China.
Principal photography for 13 ASSASSINS was accomplished in summer 2009 on a large open-air set in Tsuruoka in the Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan. The film is a remake of Eichi Kudo’s 1963 black-and-white movie of the same name, Jûsan-nin no shikaku. 13 ASSASSINS was executive produced by Toshiaki Nakazawa (producer of Departures, 2009 Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Film) for Japan’s Sedic International, Jeremy Thomas (Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Takeshi Kitano’s Brother) for Recorded Picture Company (UK), and Takashi Hirajo of Japan’s TV Asahi Corporation. Nakazawa previously worked with Miike on Sukiyaki Western Django, Andromedia , Yakuza Demon and The Bird People in China.
Takashi Miike, director, has become synonymous with the promise of a unique onscreen experience, regardless of the genre. Highly prolific, Miike is credited with over 80 films since making his directorial debut in the early 90s. Landmark films in Miike’s illustrious career include: AUDITION, ICHI THE KILLER, ONE MISSED CALL, THE GREAT YOKAI WAR, THE CITY OF LOST SOULS, VISITOR Q, GRAVEYARD OF HONOR, SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, YATTERMAN, the CROWS ZERO films and the DEAD OR ALIVE yakuza trilogy. Although his films are often associated with black humor, inventive violence and audacious style, Miike has shown his versatility in other genres: children’s films (ZEBRAMAN), sensitive dramas (THE BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA), period pieces (SABU) and even a horror musical (THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS).