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ONIMUSHA delayed? What's Christophe Gans up to, then?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I'm still a fan of Christophe Gans. He seemed to lose a lot of his street cred with the fans after SILENT HILL, which I think has some serious troubles near the end of the movie (and a bad decision to apply a CG layer to some of the live-action creature effects that looked ten times more scary without it on the DVD docs), but overall it was exactly the tone, creepiness and gore I was hoping for. I was greatly looking forward to his take on ONIMUSHA, but apparently that's hit some troubles. There's a detailed accounting below by someone in the know and also a look at at Mr. Gans is currently working on. You French readers can take a look at this story which, I'm told by Calistri below, was sourced by him also. Enjoy!

Onimusha is postponed for a long time. Which is really sad because the shooting was about to begin in June in China. The pre-production was over : 3D previz, storyboards, casting, sfx preparation, locations, stage designs... The casting was about to be revealed : Takeshi Kaneshiro, of course, but also Tsuyoshi Ihara (Letters from Iwo Jima), Satomi Ishihara and Emilie de Ravin (Claire in Lost). The film was ready to shoot. So, what happened ? Believe it or not, the first reason is linked to the tragic death of Heath Ledger on January 22th. Like everybody knows, Ledger was working on the new Terry Gilliam movie, which is produced by independent french producer Samuel Hadida (Resident Evil, Domino, Silent Hill, The Perfume, True Romance... and Onimusha !). The shooting of Dr Parnassus was stopped which forced Hadida to push back Onimusha a first time. But very soon the schedule of Takeshi Kaneshiro didn't matched anymore with the new shooting dates of Onimusha, because - as many asian actors - he shoots as many movies he can each year... and so was for the japanese cast of the movie. It was maybe possible to find another solution, another shooting dates for all the asian actors and Emily de Ravin, but there was still a problem for the casting of the second leading part of the movie, Jacob, which was american : the upcoming actors strike in June which is still not resolved ! All those problems put together leaded to one choice : Onimusha's shooting is postponed to an unknown date. Now what about Christophe Gans ? He's not the type of guy doing nothing between projects and his work on Onimusha is over until there's new shooting dates. He's still not involved in Silent Hill 2 as a director (we shall hear about this movie very soon...). We just learned he's moving on a new project, a european one this time (Onimusha is part financed by Hollywood - like Silent Hill), produced by Thomas Langman (Renegade, Astérix) and shot in French language. It's the adaptation of Leo Perutz famous book "The Swedish Cavalier", which tell the story in the 16th century in middle Europe of a thief trying to steal the girl and the fortune of a gentleman... with the help of the Devil himself!!! It's a very thrilling story, the book is known as a masterpiece of suspense. It's action, adventure style... It's very close to what Christophe Gans like. With a little exaggeration from myself, it feels like Brotherhood of the Wolves meets Silent Hill. The preproduction is just about to begin. This movie being shot most entirely under snow, the shooting will take place this winter 2008/2009. We can imagine the release in France (and maybe internationaly) around the end of 2009. So we can imagine Onimusha won't be shot until the beginning of 2010 and released before 2011.... in the best case ! Best Regards, Arnaud Calistri

Readers Talkback
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  • March 27, 2008, 2:05 p.m. CST

    I thought Gans earned more cred with Silent Hill?

    by DerLanghaarige

    Since so many seemed to hate The Brotherhood Of Wolves (or whatever it was called in the USA)

  • March 27, 2008, 2:09 p.m. CST

    silent hill

    by imascooby1985

    was flawed but still a great adaptation. The tone carried over almost perfectly from game to film. He earned more cred from me with that one at least.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Seems this guy's thing is movies off of old Playstation games

    by Reel American Hero

    Kind of weird, but alright, I'll run with it.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:17 p.m. CST

    great, I'll be able to see Onimusha

    by Datascream

    at least one year before the world ends. Suhweet!

  • March 27, 2008, 2:26 p.m. CST

    SSX : The Movie

    by nolan bautista

    Uber tricks w/ Colin Farell as Psymon!!

  • March 27, 2008, 2:28 p.m. CST

    SILENT HILL was pretty friggin sweet

    by ClockWorker

    good use of CG for horror style imagery

  • March 27, 2008, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Usually Japanese feudal type films

    by skimn

    such as Hero, House of Flying Bamboo, Curse Of The Lotus Dragon, et all, don't do anything for me. They all look the same. But throw in demons and otherworldly creatures and that'll make a difference.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:37 p.m. CST

    He earned not only cred, but RESPECT with Silent Hill

    by SpencerTrilby

    because not only his first films were FAR from being perfect (I personally think they sucked) but also because with Silent Hill he proved with a single film that <p> 1/ Video game adaptations can be succesful both from an artistic AND economic POV <p> 2/ a foreign director can work with americans without becoming a yes-man and <p> 3/ even the most arrogant, self-important and ineffective director can reddem himself with points 1/ and 2/ <p> I was really looking forward to this flick. I hope his next French period flick will be worth the delay.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Bring on Silent Hill 2

    by Gungan Slayer

    Been waiting for this sequel for a good while now. Say what you will about its problems, but I still say that in terms of adaptations of video game, it nailed the atmosphere, the tone and the style of the games, and I thought it was badass.

  • March 27, 2008, 3:01 p.m. CST

    silent hill was so uneven

    by T 1000 xp professional

    the atmosphere, mood, look and creatures were all there. The story on the other hand was kind of in shambles especially gearing towards the end...the best thing, SEAN BEAN!!!!!

  • March 27, 2008, 3:06 p.m. CST


    by TroutMaskReplicant

    When I watched Silent Hill and Brotherhood Of The Wolf, both films seemed to suffer from the same flaw - as they were meant to be heading towards the climax the entire film slowed down to a crawl, then started back up again. It fucks up the pacing. Also I didn't think much of the changes they made to the original mysterious Silent Hill cult. I think it was a cheap stab at American religious fundamentalism. Oh well...

  • March 27, 2008, 3:09 p.m. CST

    SPOILER - Sean Bean makes it through the end

    by SpencerTrilby

    and doesn't play a villain. And shares a scene with Kim FUCKIN Coates! What else do you need to make a good movie? <p> Kidding aside, yeah the tone was perfect. And the movie plays more the disturbing vibe than the mindless gore, while not shying away from some great gore FX (the redhead skinned alive by Pyramide Head was yummy). My only fan complaint was that they felt necessary to alter the first game's atmosphere with the second game's pseudo psychanalitic mumbo-jumbo, while they toned down the police aspect which was so neat if you played in-depth. Nitpicking aside, that was - to me - one of the best Hollywood horror flicks in years.

  • March 27, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Did anyone else...

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    ...find the end credits music completely ill advised? It was meant to be a creepy and lonely ending and then this cheesy rock track just bursts through...;-p

  • March 27, 2008, 3:23 p.m. CST

    silent hill was cool until...

    by Dawhiteguy

    gans enlisted backup dancers for scary nurses. dont get me wrong they were sexy. yet they should of had more of a clive barker appeal.

  • March 27, 2008, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Japanese film Made in China??

    by C00L DUD3

    I mean...obviously cheaper, but damn...

  • March 27, 2008, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Gans can do better than videogame adaptations

    by CuervoJones

    I like his style, but i´m waiting for his Great Movie.

  • March 27, 2008, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Question: Do we really need to abbreviate titles

    by Reel American Hero

    With like two words in them? That's just lazyness for the sake of being lazy.

  • March 27, 2008, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Silent Hill...

    by The Bandit

    was the best game to movie ever. It was also one of the best horror flicks out in a long time. I'm a huge fan of the games and while yes there were changes and alterations to the story here and there, the over all film we got was still great. I'm excited for SH2 but I hope Gans directs again or is at least very heavily involved. Hes already proved he gets the game and gets the SH world and I think itd be hard for somebody else to try and recreate the vibe of that universe he's so wonderfully done already. And SH isnt something you could half-ass or do on the cheap and have it work. The games have a wealth of movie(s) potential if handled right and could make for some great disturbing horror. Shame about Onimusha, another of my fave series, hope Gans still ends up with that at some point.

  • March 27, 2008, 4:36 p.m. CST

    Basically agree on SH--good aspects but flawed

    by kevred

    The tone and atmosphere of the film was really good, I thought, but the CG effects just took me out of it whenever they showed up. The practical stuff was way more scary.<p>But, what do I know--I thought the scariest moment in the whole movie was when the two costumed henchmen with pipes started attacking a certain character. More proof to me that CG, in this context, just shows you what it's scarier *not* to see.

  • March 27, 2008, 5:35 p.m. CST

    agreed, Silent Hill was the best video game movie so far, althou


    the film looked great and captured the look and feel of the games and Radha Mitchell was great, but the exposition-heavy climax was a big "What?" oh, and the Sean Bean subplot felt tacked on, as it the producers felt an audience for a video game adaptation wouldn't like such a female-dominated cast. at least it tried to be more complicated instead of the other much dumber, simplistic video game movies.

  • March 27, 2008, 5:37 p.m. CST

    the first 2/3s of Silent Hill was amazing

    by BMacSmith

    it was almost the first good video game movie, then the last third turned into a shitty Hellraiser horror knockoff. THe first part nailed the tone and confusion of the game. I suspect the Producers were too fucking stupid to get it changed it all up (and ruined it).

  • March 27, 2008, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Good news...

    by Tourist

    This new project sounds much better than another shitty video game adaptation. I don't know how closely Silent Hill hewed to the screenplay, but if it was close, than you can blame Roger "I kill people" Avary for that shoddy, lazy and confusing mess. Because, on an aesthetic level, it was great. Beautifully shot and designed. But it was such a disastrous and crappy mess that it pretty much ruined any joy that could be wrought from it.

  • March 27, 2008, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Is Gans the new Gilliam?

    by BMacSmith

    seeems good at making beautiful disasters

  • March 27, 2008, 5:50 p.m. CST

    I DO want to hear more about a second movie!

    by Johnno

    Love the games, love 'em! Heck I'm still going through the PSP game at the moment and it's awesome! Basically what's essential is that whoever's working on the new flick maintain the artistic direction and chilly atmosphere! And the music too! Heck, they don't have to adapt teh games stories, the wonderful thing is that they can even write up their own one with new characters that take place in the town, sort of what Silent Hill 2 and 4 were... They can keep making as many films like that as they want as long as they're superb!

  • March 27, 2008, 6:04 p.m. CST

    Brotherhood of the Wolf

    by TheHumanBeingAndFish

    I love "Brotherhood of the Wolf", I don't get what people dislike about it. Oh well. Haven't sen "Silent Hill", but I'm looking forward to this one.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Video Game Movies ALWAYS Suck!!!

    by ZeroCorpse

    Name ONE good videogame movie! I challenge ANYONE HERE to name JUST ONE good videogame movie! It CANNOT BE DONE! <p> Don't bother making Onimusha. It will suck.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:51 p.m. CST

    I'll name one...

    by SoWasRed2012

    Besides Silent Hill I mean, which stands up pretty well to most other recent horror movies (I don't care what anyone says, Red Pyramid is straight out of a fucking nightmare and he's all the scarier in the movie for being used so minimally within the film) - Street Fighter 2, the animated movie. That film is the shit.

  • March 27, 2008, 7:06 p.m. CST


    by 33.3rpm

    I thought the biggest problem with the first SH was the fact that the lead (Rhada) was 100% reactive. All she did was run away from stuff and never got to kick any ass. Having said that, I thought the movie was weird, fun and dark. I would see a sequel opening weekend. Saying Gans lost "cred" is presumptuous and false.

  • March 27, 2008, 7:08 p.m. CST


    by uVa

    would be the one to blame for the failings of Silent Hill. I love the film (being a big fan of the games) but I can see why people say it falls apart come act 3. This had nothing to do with Gans though - it was all there in the script. Gans' visual style and the awesome production design / creature work held this film together, as well as (of course) thr Akira Yamaoka score.

  • March 27, 2008, 7:12 p.m. CST

    So we are agreed -

    by drwilliamweir

    Silent Hill wasn't a disaster that lost geek cred, it was a near miss that gained cred? /would be impressed if Quint changed the editorial

  • March 27, 2008, 7:44 p.m. CST

    Quint, you're way off

    by Sick Fixx

    Silent Hill was amazing. I saw it three times in the theater and developed a minor obsession with it because I thought the story and atmosphere were so beautiful.

  • March 27, 2008, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Silent Hill

    by ur-vile

    definately the best vg live-action adaptation. Flawed, but good. I'm curious where they go from here, seeing as they borrow from 1's story and used 2's creatures. Part of me says they should just adapt 4 and not tie it in to the previous film. I just hope whoever they have direct knows the series well. Honestly, I'm skepticial the 2nd movie will be that good, but we'll see.<p><P> Whatever the case, I hope they continue to use Akira's music for the score.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:08 p.m. CST

    Offtopic, but R.I.P., Abby Mann...

    by Pennsy He was the screenwriter for Judgement at Nuremburg among many, many others.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:30 p.m. CST

    Never really cared for the Silent Hill franchise

    by Stalkeye

    ..but the Movie was better than I expected.Not better than BOTW, but still worth a rental.Onimusha..well I can never finsih any of those games..I'd rather see a live action adaptation based on Capcom's devil May Cry instead of 'musha.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Crying Freeman...

    by CeejayNightwing

    Was another of Christophe Gans adaptations from comic to screen this time, and along with Brotherhood of the Wolf they are the best movies Marc Dacascos ever starred in. This director has a lot of credibility with me regardless of what the editorial might say, he always delivers an entertaining flick. If he does get around to doing Onimusha, then I hope he manages to secure the ultra cool Takashi Kaneshiro for the starring role as he is in some of the early video games.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:33 p.m. CST

    you know...

    by Quint

    It's not my opinion that he lost street cred. Every time I've posted positive words on the film, which I do like, despite its flaws, I get slammed in talkback. That's where the impression that I was in the minority in liking the movie came from.<BR><BR>And Tourist, I can't say with complete authority, but what I hear is that Avary's original script was pretty different and that it was altered during production. That's the scuttlebutt. I'd love to read Avary's original draft to see if there's any validity to that because I do usually like Avary's writing.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Street Fighter 2 ?!?!

    by ZeroCorpse

    First of all, it's ANIME, and anime sucks ass. Second, it wasn't very interesting. A lot of the standard still-image fights with motion lines around the characters, and lots of standing around talking about fighting. Bleh. <p> The only reason anybody thinks SF2 anime was any good was because of the Chun Li shower/rape scene. Somehow that made it 'deep' (and had boobies! huh huh huh!) and that's the only part people seem to remember. <p> Otherwise, the plot was not much better than your average Steven Seagal movie. <p> FACE IT: All video game movies suck. They pander to the dumbest members of the audience, or they just use the franchise to cash in, knowing fans of the game will pay up to see the plot they already know like the back of their hand, but performed by people who don't give a shit.

  • March 28, 2008, 1:05 a.m. CST


    by cekma

    lets make shenmue a movie or mini series. Best video game story I have ever seen easily lense its self to film/tv

  • March 28, 2008, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Hey, TOURIST yer fuck!

    by MelvintheMopBoy

    Here's some words from, as you called him, Roger "I kill people" Avary: "Believe me, I have seen firsthand the fragility of our existences here in this world. Don't waste any time in telling those around you that you love them, for it is the doom of man that we forget, even briefly, what is most important in life. In the end, love is the only thing that's real or that matters." Try and reel in your cold-hearted attempts at coolness just a little, will you? Oh, and fucking grow up while you're at it.

  • March 28, 2008, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Glad to see...


    So many Silent Hill lovers here. Like BRAZIL, BladeRunner and Buckaroo Banzi which were panned at the theatres... I think Silent Hill was a sleeper hit and loved how close it was to the game. Amazing stuff. I only pray that a sequel, a GOOD one, and Silent Hill V for the next gen systems being made by an American company are good.

  • March 28, 2008, 1:33 a.m. CST

    Silent Hill was HALF good.

    by ZeroCorpse

    But the last half of it was a load of dingo's kidneys.

  • March 28, 2008, 2:31 a.m. CST

    Anime sucks ass?

    by CuervoJones

    Why? Porco Rosso sucks ass? No.<br> And tes, Silent Hill is the only video game movie that is a good movie.

  • March 28, 2008, 3:24 a.m. CST

    Keep him the hell away from SILENT HILL 2!!

    by MaxTheSilent

    That movie was clearly the product of a filmmaker so in love with the game, but with asolutely NO IDEA how to translate it to film. Starting with the fatal mistake of shooting it 2.35:1. It is a 1.85:1 movie if ever I've seen one. Merely replicating the game on the screen is not good enough. And Roger Avary should be beaten for submitting that truly wretched script. SILENT HILL is without question THE worst 'missed opportunity' ever filmed. And I anxiously await which music video hack they hire for the sequel.

  • March 28, 2008, 4:40 a.m. CST

    What trhe fuck are you all smoking? Silent Hill SUCKED!

    by Bass Bastardson

    Seriously, are you all on crack? I was so excited for Silent Hill and I could not have been more let down. I would go into the myriad ways in which it failed miserably but it is way too late and I need some sleepy time. You are all fucking CRAZY.

  • March 28, 2008, 5:29 a.m. CST


    by SoWasRed2012

    Yes, Street Fighter 2. No, anime does not suck ass and no, the shower scene isn't the only scene people remember (apparently it is for you, but whatever). I'm championing SF2 since it's the only video game to movie that is 100% faithful to the source - I never said the plot was anything to write home about, but then the game never had much of a plot to speak of, when I watch a Street Fighter movie I want to see lots of one-on-one out-and-out scrapping, which there was buckets of. Furthermore, I'm gonna put another TWO suggestions forward for 'decent video game turned movie'; Mortal Kombat (had the sense to just rip off Enter The Dragon instead of doing whatever the live action Street Fighter thought it was doing and was a lot of fun for it) and Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children which, as far as I could tell, not only didn't 'pander to the dumbest members in the audience', it also didn't 'use the franchise to cash in, knowing fans of the game will pay up to see the plot they already know like the back of their hand' on account of it being a follow-up to the game, and a damn good one at that.

  • March 28, 2008, 7:38 a.m. CST

    He already made crying it on ebay.

    by knowthyself

    Cause its been done.

  • March 28, 2008, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Bass Bastardson

    by CuervoJones

    I smoked Morocco hashish the day i saw Silent Hill. Good stuff.

  • March 28, 2008, 9 a.m. CST

    Silent Hill is a Masterpiece

    by TheLastCleric

    The story is a bit muddled but who cares? Visually the film is stunning and it’s one of the few horror films released in years to pack a dick and a pair of testicles. Silent Hill was one of the most unapologetically horrific films I’ve ever seen, replete with nasty, surreal monsters ranging from burning babies to those awesome, fetishistic nightmare nurses. While Gans had to radically alter the ending due to budget constraints I personally loved it, especially the image of the little girl little dancing in a shower of blood and viscera as she extracts revenge. It’s also got one of the bleakest resolutions of any film is recent memory (save perhaps the Mist) so overall I consider it a triumph for a genre that is rife with Japanese remakes (which aren’t scary and never will be) and bubblegum horror films for the kids. I also love Brotherhood of the Wolves, which is just pure fun on several levels. Gans has some serious talent and Onimusha could be awesome if it ever gets past pre-production.

  • March 28, 2008, 11:45 a.m. CST

    The story is a bit muddled, but who cares?

    by skimn

    Ummm I do. Nightmarish imagery alone does not make great, or even good horror film.

  • March 28, 2008, 1:10 p.m. CST

    To each their own skimm

    by TheLastCleric

    I think the story was solid, just a bit convoluted. That happens when trying to jam so much mythology into one film but in my opinion it really didn't detract from the overall experience. I'd also remind you that some of the best horror films rely on relatively simple premises that are bolstered by creature design, ambiance, tone, etc. So with all due respect I flatly reject your theory that nightmarish imagery alone can't make a good horror film, even though I think Silent Hill has more than merely the visuals working for it. As an example of what I am referring to, I would submit that the success of Kubrick’s The Shinning is largely hinged on the visuals because frankly, his interpretation of King’s novel borders on incoherency.

  • March 28, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST


    by skimn

    But The Shining is like a model of coherency next to Silent Hill. A good example of imagery propelling the simplest of plots would be Alien. I have to admit it's been a while since I have seen Silent Hill, so I can't get into specifics, but I thought it was much too much style over substance. Other than that, the best attempt at a video game adaptation so far.

  • March 28, 2008, 3:41 p.m. CST

    The Janitor!/Akira Yamaoka

    by ur-vile

    I forgot to give credit to Gans for The Janitor. That part really creeped me out the first time. And I love how it pans back to him for a few seconds after the encounter.<p><p> I also loved how they used the original game music by Akira Yamaoka pretty much unchanged as the score. I hope the team behind Castlevania is paying attention to this one.<p><p> Like I said, it's not perfect (for example, I hated the Sean Bean scenes) and the ending "flashback" was meh) but by far the best video game adaptation put to screen. I think the haterz are being way too harsh on this one. But you can't please everyone, I suppose.

  • March 28, 2008, 4:19 p.m. CST

    I'm now convinced that anime reached out...

    by Johnno

    And raped ZeroCorpse in the shower... As for good video game movies, Mortal Kombat was good, not only was it very faithful to the game, it was also competent and entertaining with a kick ass soundtrack! Anime has also given us the street fighter film, and Advent Children which is by far the craziest action movie I've ever had the pleasure of seeing and I haven't even played any of the ff7 games... <br><br>And as for Silent Hill the movie being convuluted? Nah man that shit was practically spelt out at the end. And I for one didn't like that portion even though I love the film, that's kinda where it falls apart. I hear all this stuff about Avery's script being changed and Gans running out of budget or not being able to finish the film and thus having to rush the ending... heck I suppose there's credibility to it as if you watch the making ofs and stuff there are glimpses of entire scenes being shot that aren't even in the final film. Who knows? But if anything Silent Hill should be convoluted, the games certainly are and the fun comes when you try to piece everything together. That's the sort of stuff that garners a cult following which would be very appropriate for this sort of franchise.

  • March 28, 2008, 10:55 p.m. CST

    Sucks Onimusha is Delayed

    by bottombrick

    And that kind of eye for visuals from the guy who made Silent Hill could be fucking awesome in a Demonic viscera coated Samurai drama. First 2/3s of Silent were great, in tone and visuals, and the last 1/3 was a tremendous pay off for the right kind of audience (obviously not those religiously inclined). I definitely second Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 as great video game adaptions, Street Fighter 2 is the shit.

  • March 29, 2008, 5:38 p.m. CST

    Claire from Lost is in it? Make the damn movie!

    by Knuckleduster

    Can't say I'm a big fan of Brotherhood of the Wolf. It had a few cool fight scenes and shitty CGI. I mostly remember being bored. Crying Freeman was dumb-but-fun, though.

  • April 20, 2008, 8:22 p.m. CST

    make Onimusha CG

    by cblades

    if that have all the 3D previz done, that can should able to turn that into a complete cg.