Ghost of Tsushima movie director wants the film to have Japanese cast speaking Japanese

Ghost of Tsushima

It’s been a bit over a year since we first heard of a Ghost of Tsushima movie and not much since, but now we’ve got some tidbits on how it could turn out.

The film is being produced by John Wick 4’s director, and he too is a massive fan of classic Japanese cinema, just like the original game’s developer – Sucker Punch. So much so that he wants the film to actually have an all-Japanese cast… speaking Japanese.

“And honestly, we’d to try to do it, all in character. Meaning, it’s a Japanese thing about the Mongols invading Tsushima island. A complete Japanese cast, in Japanese. Sony is so on board with backing us on that. I’ve been going to Japan since I was 16,” John Wick 4 director Chad Stahelski said to Collider.

He added, “I have a love of the country, love of the people, love of the language. To try to direct not only in my language, but someone else’s and culturally shift my mindset to bring apart that in a cool way that still entices a Western audience.”

For those unaware, the majority of Hollywood video game film adaptations are usually white-washed and use an all-western cast speaking English.

Film with subtitles and non-English languages tend to do poorly in American cinema – but it’s refreshing to hear the Ghost of Tsushima movie will try to be as authentically “Japanese” as possible.

Some video games are literally about Japanese people in a Japanese story, so it makes no sense to recast/reframe an entire story just for westerners – like with the recently launched Root Letter film. A Ghost of Tsushima movie with a non-Japanese cast wouldn’t make sense as the game is set in a historical period of Japan.

Despite the historical slump with sales behind movies with subtitles/non-English languages, Chad thinks they can be successful with the Ghost of Tsushima movie.

“[…] I believe that’s why Jackie Chan was successful is you didn’t have to speak Cantonese or Mandarin to get him. You saw it on his face,” Stahelski said. “There’s a way to direct actors. There’s a way to do it.”

Even with all the hype and hope, it sounds like perhaps the film won’t get a big budget if there’s zero English being spoken, though.

“No one is going to give me $200 million to do a technology-push movie without speaking English. I get it. So, I have to be clever and I have to figure out what’s fiduciarily responsible to the property, to the studio and still get what I want out of it and still make it something epic,” Chad said.

Concrete details on the Ghost of Tsushima movie like a premiere date, how close to the source it stays, and so on haven’t been confirmed.

This is Niche Culture. In this column, we regularly cover anime, geek culture, and things related to video games. Please leave feedback and let us know if there’s something you want us to cover!