HBO Max, Amblin Ink Deal for Series Inspired by ‘Rashomon’

Amblin Television and HBO Max have entered into a deal to develop a show inspired by the acclaimed Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon.

Oscar nominees Billy Ray (Captain PhillipsThe Hunger GamesThe Comey Rule) and Virgil Williams (MudboundA Journal for Jordan) will be writers on the series.

The series will not be an adaptation but will retain the key plot device of the Kurosawa film — a drama centering around a grisly sexual assault and murder, and the unraveling mystery seen through multiple characters’ competing narratives — to explore the themes of truth and subjective point of view, in a modern setting, according to a press release. Each episode will present the perceived truth of an individual character — putting each, in turn, at the center of the story and telling the events surrounding the murder from their unique, self-serving point of view.

Amblin Partners’ co-presidents of television Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (The AmericansHaunting of Hill House) will executive produce, along with Mark Canton (Power300) of Atmosphere Entertainment, Leigh Ann Burton of Opus7 Entertainment, and David Hopwood (Den of ThievesImmortals). Todd Cohen, SVP of television development, will oversee the day-to-day development of the project for Amblin, with Frank and Falvey.

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In 2018, Amblin announced that they had secured the blessing of the Kurosawa family to create a new series inspired by the iconic 1950 film, after Burton and Canton approached them.

“I am delighted to work with Amblin Partners and HBO Max to reimagine Rashomon for today’s audience,” Hisao Kurosawa said in a statement. “I am excited to see my dad’s vision through this inspirational story kept alive and made accessible to a new generation,”

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“Truth has become increasingly fractured in this age of cable news and social media’s ‘say it and it’s true’ culture,” Frank and Falvey said in a statement. “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.”

“It takes a lot of hard work to make the stars align and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to create an original take on Rashomon — a masterpiece from a true genius of cinema — for new audiences, with the full support and blessing of the Kurosawa family,” Canton said in a statement. “Not only that, but to be doing so in partnership with my friends and colleagues at Amblin Television, as well as the brilliantly talented Billy Ray and Virgil Williams, is truly the convergence of hard work and good fortune that every producer hopes for.”

“We are excited to work with Amblin Partners and our incredible writing team. Everyone involved understands the caliber and cache of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon and his legacy,” Burton said in a statement.

“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,” Williams and Ray said in a statement.