It’s not exactly a surprise when film auteur Spike Lee announces a new project.
Per IMDb, he’s got at least four upcoming projects in the oven right now — and that’s just as a director.
Similarly, it’s not exactly a surprise when bona fide movie star Denzel Washington announces a new project.
As recently as late 2023, Washington was still putting out box office hits as the leading man.
(And remember, 2023 was a rough year for Hollywood overall.)
Even the two of them announcing a joint project isn’t exactly uncharted territory.
After all, the two men have linked up on the following hit films in the past:
- 1990 musical/thriller “Mo’ Better Blues”
- 1992 dramatized biopic “Malcolm X”
- 1998 sports drama “He Got Game”
- 2006 crime drama “Inside Man”
Now, for the first time in nearly 18 years, Lee and Washington are teaming up again for a movie… but the subject matter is actually somewhat surprising.
Announced by Apple on Thursday, Lee and Washington are teaming up to offer their own take on one of the films from legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.
The fifth Denzel and Spike joint.
High and Low, a reinterpretation of Akira Kurosawa’s classic.
Filming starts in March.
— Apple Original Films (@AppleFilms) February 8, 2024
Apple offered few scant details, as the project has not even begun filming yet: “The fifth Denzel and Spike joint. High and Low, a reinterpretation of Akira Kurosawa’s classic.
“Filming starts in March.”
According to Variety, Lee is both a director and writer of this film. Apple is co-funding the movie and will be making it an AppleTV+ exclusive.
As for this new movie’s source material, you may be unfamiliar with it unless you’re particularly caught up on the tail end of the “Golden Age” of Japanese cinema.
“High and Low” was a 1963 crime thriller that was directed, edited and co-written by Kurosawa (there’s a reason the man’s considered a legend).
The plot of “High and Low” sounds like a perfect fit for Washington, given that the film’s protagonist is slotted between a jagged rock and a very hard place — the type of role that Washington typically thrives in.
Do you have any interest in this remake of “High and Low”?
Avoiding spoilers, just in case you’re interested in viewing the 1963 original or the upcoming Lee-Washington joint, “High and Low” focused on a company worker who has saved up a ton of money to make some big moves (like buying a stake/ownership) in said company.
Right before he can pull the trigger on that, he learns that a co-worker’s son was kidnapped for ransom after being mistaken for his son.
That leaves the protagonist with the rough choice of saving the young boy or securing the financial security of himself and his family.
The 1963 version of “High and Low” is available on current streaming platforms, like Max and Amazon Prime Video.