General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito film
Peter Webber, who you should remember from Girl with a Pearl Earring and Hannibal Rising, is looking to direct an historical film about the days following the Japanese surrender when General Douglas MacArthur and his staff considered prosecuting Emperor Hirohito for crimes of war, and decided against such action.
Oh, have I given away the ending? Well perhaps the Hollywood script will rewrite the war again. Mind you, the way Webber is talking about the project I think he's going to be pretty faithful to the historical side.
Mind you, saying that the article does describe the film with those dreaded words:
"Inspired by true events..."
Now that's inspired, which usually suggests one of the weakest links to fact.
The script has been written by David Klass and Vera Blasi. Klass wrote the screenplay for Walking Tall (Filmstalker review), which was loosely based on a real story and that worked out well, plus he wrote the screenplay for Kiss the Girls and wrote Desperate Measures. Vera Blassi has Woman on Top and Tortilla Soup.
It's a mixed bag there, but I think Klass could offer the story some weight in the thriller and dramatic departments, and with Peter Webber directing there's a lot of promise.
The Hollywood Reporter tells us that the story will focus on the member of MacArthur's staff called General Bonner Fellers who is a leading Japanese expert and is put in charge of the case. To complicate matters the story weaves in and out of an affair the General has with a young Japanese exchange student he has had.
Speaking about the film Webber said:
"I immediately responded to the intelligence, humanity and emotion of the script. It's a fascinating period of history and there are strong parallels to the contemporary world in the issues of regime change and seeking revenge against the old political order. The fact that all this came wrapped up in a tense political thriller with an epic love story at the heart of it made it irresistible."
I know it's a short quote but he said all the right things to get me interested there and none of the wrong things. It sounds like it could be very strong, but then let's go to that historical fact in film issue, and Webber brings some bad news, well for me at least.
"The end of World War II in the far east and the relationship between General MacArthur and Japan is a part of history which has been largely unexplored in film. With most documents burned, historians have relied on accounts which are being debated to this day..."
Inspired by true events, but actually written down based on hearsay, belief and passed down accounts? That could be the part of the film that struggles with me, and yet everything else he's talking about sounds so strong.