Tarsem Singh Wants to Direct a ‘Samurai Jack’ Movie, But Will Probably Do a ‘My Dinner with Andre’-Style Picture Next
Posted on Friday, November 11th, 2011 by Angie Han
Whether it’s this weekend’s violent Immortals or next spring’s “sickeningly kiddie” Mirror, Mirror, the common thread running through all of director Tarsem Singh‘s works is a focus on uniquely striking imagery. After all, this is a man who once explained to a Comic-Con audience that “I start with a good visual, and see if the story will fall in.” So on that level, it makes quite a bit of sense that his dream job is apparently to direct a live-action feature version of Samurai Jack, the stylish Cartoon Network animated series that aired between 2001 and 2004. It may or may not be a good news, depending on how you feel about his oeuvre, but it’s not especially shocking news.
No, what’s much more surprising is that his next project won’t be that movie, or actually anything else that sounds like it’s remotely in the Singh wheelhouse. The filmmaker has said that wants to shift gears completely and focus on a small, talk-y film in the vein of My Dinner with Andre or Knife in the Water. Read more about Singh’s plans for his future after the jump.
During a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Singh revealed his desire to helm a live-action Samurai Jack picture. “I love Samurai Jack. I would love to direct that,” he said, citing the show’s style, pacing, and visuals as some of the aspects he admires most about it. “It’s brilliant. The speed, it embraces where it comes from. I find that comic strip films are halfway grounded. They don’t play my chord. But I love Samurai Jack. I love the animation.”
Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, Samurai Jack follows a legendary warrior from feudal Japan who’s banished into a dystopian future by the demon Aku, and his attempts to find a way to return to the past. The series was a creative success, earning four Emmys during its three-season run.
So much of Samurai Jack‘s appeal has to do with its distinctive animation that it’s tough to imagine a live-action version of that universe. At the same time, I’d be curious to see Singh put his own stamp on the character, especially because he’s already proven that he has a great eye for action and a knack for vivid imagery.
Singh isn’t the first to attempt to bring Jack to the big-screen — as THR points out, New Line was developing a live-action version several years ago, with noted rehearsal-hater Brett Ratner attached to direct and produce. However, that project never got off the ground and Cartoon Network holds the rights once again. “Have them contact me,” said Singh.
Even if Singh does get the call, however, it’ll likely be some time before he actually makes Samurai Jack happen. For his next film, Singh plans to try something entirely unlike the flashy, visually oriented pictures he’s become known for — partly just to prove that he can. “I want to do a talking-head movie like My Dinner with Andre or like an early (Roman) Polanski like Knife in the Water, ” he told THR. “I want to go there because now all everyone wants to think is that I want to do visual films.”
While Singh’s films may not always be a hit with critics, you’ve got to give the guy credit for at least trying to expand his horizons. “[I]f you don’t change it up early in your career and force people to redefine how they see you, when will you?” he said.