Keanu Reeves has been working on his big screen comeback -- and has run into some major snags. For one, his film's director was just ousted, and for two, the film is grossly over budget, reports The Wrap.
Rivaling the grandiosity of his successful "Matrix" trilogy, Reeves' "47 Ronin" retells one of Japan's most well-known samurai stories. Starring an all-Japanese cast except for Reeves (who is part Asian), it is the biggest film production he has been involved with since his last "Matrix" movie in 2003 (though he has appeared in several other smaller films since then).
The film is undoubtedly testing Hollywood's increasingly conservative sensibilities with its casting, story and production choices. Universal, the studio making "47 Ronin," is likely being particularly careful in the wake of "Battleship" bombing at the box office -- in an industry that has grown overly-careful in an effort to appeal to the broadest of audiences.
Reeves himself acknowledged the daunting undertaking just last month: "It's an ambitious film in theme and it's ambitious in its scale and I think it's something special. It's really historical, fantastical. It's big, you know, it's like revenge, love, honor, and outsider. So, it's a kind of eastern-Western, um, yeah, story" [via STV]. He went on to hint at the film's lengthy production: "It does take time and care, so they're taking time and care [laughs]," he said, seemingly referring to the filmmakers of "47 Ronin".
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The production has been helmed by first-time, feature-length film director Carl Rinsch (he made a few shorts but his real claim to fame is being the protegé of "Alien," "Blade Runner" and "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott.) Part of the trouble with the undertaking, it appears, is that it has reportedly gone over budget by about $50 million. (This is according to a source, who called the production a "nightmare," who spoke to the Wrap. An exec at the film's studio, Universal, has disputed this, saying it has not gone past its original $175 million budget.)
The film's release date has also been postponed more than once. It was originally supposed to land in theaters November 21, but was pushed to February 8, 2013. Just last month Universal pushed the date even further forward to December 25, 2013.
Universal reportedly did see to it that Rinsch be pulled from the editing process. After he completed shooting -- which included reshoots in London approximately a week ago -- Rinsch was pulled, according to the Wrap's source, because a key fighting sequence in the film neglected to focus on Reeves, the star of the film. A love scene was reportedly also reshot. Donna Langley, Universal's co-chairwoman, is now supervising editing of the film. The Wrap further wrote:
The studio was dissatisfied with the movie it saw coming together and seized control from Rinsch.
Yahoo! Movies reached out to Universal for comment, but the studio did not reply in time for the deadline of this post.
While it is apparent the film is experiencing production woes, the finished product still has a chance at becoming truly awesome. "You know, on set I've seen some sizzle reels and some collections of some of the images. It looks absolutely astounding, and beautiful, and incredible," Reeves told Collider last month.