It’s been just over two years since we learned of a feature film in the works focused on Yasuke, the only black Samurai to have served under lord Oda Nobunaga in 16th century Japan. Since then, there are at least two more projects in the works – an indie from director/actor Calvert David Miles and an animated Netflix venture featuring Lakeith Stanfield, something which speaks amply to the viability and potential of a reverent historical black samurai feature project to begin with.
That leads us to some long-awaited news out on Thursday as Yasuke’s transition to the big screen, formerly in the hands of screenwriter Gregory Widen with Solipsist Films and De Luca Productions at the time, now has new movement at MGM instead. As Mike Fleming Jr. notes ay Deadline, a new script in existence from Stuart C. Paul, joined by Whalerock Industries’ own Lloyd Braun and MGM’s latest exec hire, Andrew Mittman serving as producers.
A native of Portuguese Mozambique, Yasuke was taken captive and brought to 16th-century Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. The first black man to set foot on Japanese soil, Yasuke’s arrival arouses the interest of Oda Nobunaga, a ruthless warlord seeking to unite the fractured country under his banner. The script focuses on the complex relationship between the two men as Yasuke earns Nobunaga’s friendship, respect — and ultimately, the honor, swords and title of samurai.
Look out for more Yasuke news in future updates!