Spike Lee and Denzel Washington Are Remaking Akira Kurosawa’s ‘High and Low’ with Apple and A24

A new Spike Lee Joint is in the works that will reunite the director with Denzel Washington. Lee will direct Washington in “High and Low,” an English-language adaptation of the 1963 Akira Kurosawa crime film of the same name, for Apple Original Films, which is working in partnership with A24.

“High and Low” marks the first time Washington and Lee will work together since 2006’s “Inside Man.” It will be their fifth film together in addition to “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Malcolm X,” and “He Got Game.”

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The project also brings back together Washington and Todd Black, who produced “Fences,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and “The Equalizer” films. Washington previously starred in another Apple and A24 film, Joel Coen’s 2022 “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” which netted Denzel his 10th Oscar nomination.

Production on “High and Low” will start in March. A24 plans to release the film theatrically before it streams on Apple TV+.

“High and Low” is just one of Japanese master Kurosawa’s masterpieces, and it currently sits at number 86 on IMDB’s Top 250 list. The film stars Toshiro Mifune as a man who becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped by mistake and held for ransom. Kurosawa was up for the Golden Lion at Venice in 1963, and the film was nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film at the Golden Globes that year.

The film is being developed and produced by A24, Escape Artists, and Mandalay Pictures. Alan Fox wrote the screenplay with Spike Lee. Black is producing for Escape Aritsts, and Jason Michael Berman (“Air,” “Nine Days”) is producing for Mandalay pictures.

Lee will also executive produce through his 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. Mandalay’s Peter Guber will serve as executive producer, along with Juniper Productions’ Matthew Lindner, Chris Brigham, and Katia Washington. Mandalay’s Jordan Moldo is co-producing.

Washington most recently reprised his role as Robert McCall for “The Equalizer 3,” and he’ll next be seen in “Gladiator 2” for Ridley Scott and Paramount Pictures, starring alongside Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, and Connie Nielsen.

Lee has been circling several other projects in recent years, including his musical about the invention of Viagra called “Boner” that was originally set up at eOne (which has since been sold to Lionsgate), and “Da Understudy” at Amazon, which was meant to star Jonathan Majors (who is awaiting sentencing in his domestic assault case). And though Lee has directed his 9/11 miniseries “NYC Epicenters” and the stage-to-film version of “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” “High and Low” will be his first narrative feature since 2020’s “Da 5 Bloods.”

Washington is represented by WME. Lee is represented by Gersh and Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks. Fox is represented by Grandview.

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