Director Chad Stahelski has revealed that the upcoming Ghost of Tsushima film will hopefully feature a Japanese cast and be made in Japanese.
Given that this would be in line with the bolder Japanese soundtrack (with English subtitles) of the popular and critically acclaimed 2020 PS4 game, it’s not surprising that he also said that “Sony is so on board with supporting [him] on this”. The director, best known for the John Wick series, is also keen to ensure that the adaptation is faithful to the original game and to Akira Kurosawa’s cinematic past.
Speaking to Collider, the director has several things in mind to adapt as solid and authentic as possible:
“So, if we do it right, it will be a visually stunning and character-driven film with great action. And frankly, we’d try to do it, all of it with full commitment. I mean, it’s a Japanese story about the Mongols invading the island of Tsushima. We want a full Japanese cast in Japanese. Sony is supporting us in this endeavour.”
Stahelski hopes that his experience in Japan – a country he has been visiting since he was 16 – will help him to “direct not just in [his] language, but in someone else’s” and be able to portray the story “in a cool way that still appeals to Western audiences”. Asked how he overcomes the obstacle that Americans typically don’t like to read subtitles in the cinema, he believes there is a way to guide actors with facial expressions so that they can understand the scene regardless of the language. He also says that Western audiences are becoming more comfortable with subtitles because of Netflix and streamers.
Nevertheless, he knows that he owes a debt of loyalty to Sony and that “no one is going to give [it] $200 million to make a technology-pushing movie in English without dubbing.” So if the company thinks the film will do better in English, or if there will be an English-language version, it may end up doing so.