Spike Lee and Denzel Washington team up for the fifth time, reimagining Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 crime drama, High and Low.
The pair, whose previous projects include Malcolm X and He Got Game, will begin filming a reinterpretation in March. Based on the novel King’s Ransom by Ed McBain, the original film stars Toshiro Mifune as a rich man ruined after paying a ransom for a kidnapping.
The story also served as inspiration for Steven Soderbergh’s 2023 miniseries Full Circle. In 2008, it was reported that Martin Scorsese would be developing a remake scripted by David Mamet, but it never came to fruition.
Lee has previously spoken about his admiration for Kurosawa, stating that his 1986 comedy She’s Gotta Have It was influenced by Rashomon. When asked about the longevity of his career last year, Lee said, “Kurosawa was 86 years old! “At least I have to get to Kurosawa.”
Kurosawa’s work has been remade several times, most recently with 2022’s Living, a remake of Ikiru, starring Bill Nighy, who received an Oscar nomination.
The remake will be released in theaters by A24 before heading to Apple TV+, following a similar route to The Tragedy of Macbeth, which earned Washington an Oscar nomination for best actor.
The script will be written by Alan Fox, a former college basketball player and model turned playwright. Fox also appeared in Taylor Swift’s Fifteen video. His script Queens of the Stoned Age, about a model who becomes a marijuana dealer, is coming to Sony with Dakota Johnson as the lead.
Washington recently appeared in The Equalizer 3, which grossed $191 million worldwide. This year will also see him star alongside Paul Mescal in director Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2.
Lee’s last film was 2020’s Da 5 Bloods. His last film with Washington was the 2006 thriller Inside Man.