Director Shinsuke Sato just boarded his first Netflix movie deal in an exclusive report for Water Margin, via Deadline. He’ll be partnering with Screen Arcade whose Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless are producing with Scott Morgan as exec producer.
The film will steer away from the period setting ofn Shi Nai’an’s 14th century novel – about a band of 108 outlaws granted amnesty by the government and sent on campaigns to stave off foreign invaders. As Deadline’s Justin Kroll tells it:
The film is a futuristic take on one of the great classical novels of Chinese literature, The Water Margin is an epic action-adventure saga filled with glory, romance, and intrigue. The story explores timely questions about loyalty, leadership, and our duty to take on society’s problems no matter the personal cost.
Deepwater Horizon scribe Matt Sand is penning the script. Sato’s never left my radar in the last eighteen years since I first watched his low-budget dystopian future reimagining of a Toho classic, The Princess Blade, in which he partnered behind the camera with Donnie Yen as action director next to Yen cohort, Kenji Tanigaki as stunt coordinator. He’s established himself as one of the most versatile filmmakers today, especially for manga collectors and anime fans having had his hands on the Gantz and Library Wars franchises, as well as Bleach and Inuyashiki as of late.
Last year finally saw the North American festival debut of Kingdom following its sales acquisition by Sony international and subsequent landing at Funimation Films, and I highly recommend viewing it at some point – only if you can find the blu-ray which has original Japanese audio in its package, you would be all the more wiser to snag it ASAP. A sequel is in the works, after all.
Water Margin marks Sato’s second milestone with Netflix as well, following the series production of his latest sci-fi fantasy actioner, Alice In Borderland, and the latest trailer for that is already making the rounds: