16th Century Black Samurai, Yasuke, Poised For Feature Film At Lionsgate, Gregory Widen Scripting

Browse on social media long enough in the last few years and you might have come across a few factoids about an African Samurai named Yasuke who served under lord Oda Nobunaga in 16th century Japan. The exact details about Yasuke's story aren't clear and take a few different directions, but that isn't stopping Lionsgate from positioning itself in development for a feature-length iteration of the new movie, Black Samurai.

Thus, they have tapped screenwriter Gregory Widen to provide the script for Mike De Luca and Stephen L’Heureux to produce as a co-production between Solipsist Films and De Luca Productions. As Deadline reports, Widen has established his own ideas about the direction in which to take the now brewing script which not only approaches Yasuke's emergence as a samurai, but some of the explicit, dark and gruesom trials and tribulations of being black-skinned in a region of the world where dark skin is unfamiliar with its inhabitants.
“[Black Samurai] is based on the true story of an African whose journey to Japan comes with conflicting background stories,” Widen said. “The one I’ve chosen is that he was a slave soldier after the fall of Abysinnian Bengal, a black kingdom run by Ethiopians. He was sold into slavery and found himself in the care of Alessandro Valignano, an Italian missionary. They formed a bond, and when there were complications in Rome, he was sent to Japan and took Yasuke with him. There he met Oda Nobunaga, who was interested in all Western things, and through a series of bizarre events, the Jesuit left Yasukie with the warlord.”
Widen states that the Japanese would try to scrub his skin, and that Yasuke was often conflicted about the violence of his past, thus embracing samurai culture and assimilating into his environment as so. 

Among his screenwriting credits, Widen, repped by Above the Line, Phoenix Organization and Echo Lake, is best known for his work on the college thesis he wrote and sold for a large sum pay which ultimately birthed itself into the popular cult film and TV franchise, Highlander.

This was pretty much bound to happen, methinks, but let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below!


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