Akira Kurosawa’s classic film Rashomon will serve as the inspiration for an all-new drama series at HBO Max. As The Hollywood Reporter confirmed today, the series will utilize the structure from the original film to reveal the role of subjective truths in today’s culture.
Kurosawa (March 23rd, 1920-September 6th, 1998) was a world-renowned director of Japanese cinema, creating classics such as The Hidden Fortress and Seven Samurai. His film Rashomon was a psychological thriller that took place in feudal Japan. In it, a priest interviews three people involved with the death of a samurai, attempting to uncover the truth of what happened. Each person (an outlaw, the samurai’s wife, and the spirit of the samurai himself) each give their own account of what happened, with all stories containing bits of the truth but not the whole picture.
While using the same title, the HBO Max series will not follow the plot of the film. Rather, it will use the concept behind the film to tell an original story. The series will take place in modern day, dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault and murder. Each episode will focus on a different person’s account of how the event went down. The series aims to honor the legacy of the original, and the unique form of storytelling it pioneered in its depiction of subjective truths.
Amblin Television is developing the series for HBO Max. Billy Ray (The Comey Rule) and Virgil Williams (Mudbound) will collaborate on the series’ script. In a joint statement released to The Hollywood Reporter, Williams and Ray said “Our partnership on Rashomon is based on our mutual pledge to make every single episode, every scene, and every character of this show a loving homage to Kurosawa’s talent as an artist. That’s our true north.”
Executive producers for the series include Mark Canton (Power), Leigh Ann Burton, David Hopwood (Immortals), and Amblin Entertainment co-presidents Darryl Frank (The Americans) and Justin Falvey (Into the West). Favley and Frank spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the original film’s relevance to today’s culture: “Truth has become increasingly fractured in this age of cable news and social media’s ‘say it and it’s true’ culture. Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece was not just a murder mystery; it was a revolution in storytelling, as cinema’s most impactful and influential early exploration of subjective points of view and flawed narration. Seventy years after the film’s release, the legacy of Rashomon is indisputable and its central themes more relevant than ever. Our series will honor the impact of the original work and explore the age-old concept of objective truth versus subjective perspective in our modern times.”