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Four of Keanu Reeves' '47 Ronin' Cast

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Mar 01, 2011 | 12:18pm EST

Keanu ReevesCarl Erik Rinsch made a huge splash in the advertising industry with his high-concept storytelling. That brought Hollywood to his doorstep and he was quickly attached to a handful of exciting science fiction and fantasy projects (Logan's Run and The Creature From The Black Lagoon among others) that were too pricey for established action directors to work on. We've been hearing his name for years now but haven't seen one of his films go into production. So when he was hired by Universal Pictures to helm 47 Ronin, a period-set samurai flick with Keanu Reeves headlining, I was skeptical about its priority at the studio.

Now it seems the project is finally getting underway as Variety reports that a quartet of foreign actors have been cast. Right off the bat, I'm stoked about Asian actors playing Japanese characters. I'm glad that Universal isn't pulling a Last Airbender and hiring SoCal American's to play hardened feudal warriors. Authenticity will be in tact in this film and I'm enthusiastic, especially since there are a few bad-ass actors involved. Let's have a look.

First we have Tadanobu Asano, who is perhaps best known for his leading role in Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer as well as the lauded Mongol. He'll become even more recognizable this year when he co-stars in Thor and will have two big Universal films to open in 2012 (including this one) because he's got a part in Peter Berg's Battleship. Next up is Rinko Kikuchi, a feisty little thing who was seen showing her hoo-ha in Babel and added international flavor to Rian Johnson's The Brothers Bloom. Most geek worthy is Hiroyuki Sanada, who appeared in The Last Samurai, Rush Hour 3, Speed Racer and the final season of ABC's Lost as an enigmatic protector of the island known only as Dogen. Finally we have Kou Shibasaki, a singing sensation who made her film debut in Kinji Fukasaku's acclaimed Battle Royale. Have a look at them all below (thanks to CS for the photo mash-up).

47 Ronin Japanese Actors

You may not be familiar with all of these actors, but that's not the point. The point is that the the famous fact-based story about a band of samurai swordsmen who avenge the death of their master in 18th Century Japan will look and feel like a genuine period piece, not just a soulless Hollywood product. Chris Morgan (Wanted, Fast Five) penned the screenplay for this epic actioner, which is on course to release on November 11th, 2012 in 3D.

Source: Variety

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