Keanu Reeves: It was 'very special' to be part of '47 Ronin'

Keanu Reeves stars in '47 Ronin,' a film based on real events about a lord who was wrongfully put to death and his followers — the ronin — who sought revenge.

Shuji Kajiyama/AP
Actors and actresses, from left, Ko Shibasaki, Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuch and director Carl Rinsch pose at a press conference for "47 Ronin" in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Nov. 18.

Keanu Reeves, his co-stars, and film director Carl Rinsch appeared together in front of a Tokyo audience on Monday to discuss "47 Ronin.."

Reeves said the film tells of people who "share this journey to reclaim their land, their honor, their way. It was very special to me to be part of it."

"47 Ronin" is based on an actual historical event during the Edo Period known as "Chushingura." It involved a lord who was wrongfully put to death and his followers — ronin — who sought revenge.

Rinsch said he took on the film subject and sat down with Keanu Reeves about two years ago. They wondered how they were going to take on a popular Japanese tale and do it justice. Rinsch said they decided to make the story their own, making "it a Hollywood blockbuster and see it through that lens."

"These themes of revenge, loyalty, perseverance, were things we knew from the very beginning were universal," said Rinsch, who is making his directorial feature debut with the film.

Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada stars as the main supporting character, Kuranosuke Oishi, a leader of the men. Sanada said that during the filming Reeves became more and more of a samurai, while the character he played became more "wild" in style.

Sanada said he and Reeves hoped to depict the friendship of two characters, which transcended borders and social positions, in the film.

Reeves, who grew up attracted to martial arts movies, makes his directorial debut this year with the martial arts action movie "Man of Tai Chi."

The film "47 Ronin" premiers in Japan on Dec. 6 and opens in US theaters on Dec. 25.

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