The other day word broke regarding a Rashomon TV series based on the Akira Kurosawa movie of the same name. Now…here comes news of A Fistful of Dollars TV series, which is, of course, also based on a Kurosawa movie – Yojimbo. Directed by Sergio Leone and released in 1964, A Fistful of Dollars was Clint Eastwood‘s first starring role and turned him into a leading man. He played the Man with No Name, a part he’d play again in For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).
A Fistful of Dollars was what you’d call an “unofficial” remake of Yojimbo. So unofficial, in fact, that Yojimbo studio Toho filed a lawsuit – one that was settled out of court. And now it’s going to become a TV show, according to Deadline. Mark Gordon Pictures is developing the project, and Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman is rumored to be handling the adaptation.
In A Fistful of Dollars, “The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood) enters the Mexican village of San Miguel in the midst of a power struggle among the three Rojo brothers (Antonio Prieto, Benny Reeves, Sieghardt Rupp) and sheriff John Baxter (Wolfgang Lukschy). When a regiment of Mexican soldiers bearing gold intended to pay for new weapons is waylaid by the Rojo brothers, the stranger inserts himself into the middle of the long-simmering battle, selling false information to both sides for his own benefit.” This same story – again, pulled from Yojimbo – also inspired the Bruce Willis/Walter Hill movie Last Man Standing (1996). The Fistful of Dollars TV show will reportedly “pull from this source material for an original, contemporary retelling of the story.”
A Fistful of Dollars is notable for launching Clint Eastwood’s movie star career. Eastwood had acted before the film, but it was his decision to head over to Italy and make this Spaghetti Western that finally turned him into a leading man (if that scenario sounds familiar to you it’s because Quentin Tarantino borrowed it for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Cliff Boothe in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).
I’m sure this premise – a mysterious outsider playing two feuding sides against each other – can work just fine in a TV setting. Still, there’s a part of me that always cringes when someone decides to turn a classic movie into a TV show. I try very hard not to pre-judge this sort of stuff, but it always just strikes me as a little lazy. There’s no network set for the show yet, but per Deadline’s story, “Mark Gordon Pictures has an existing deal with eOne, under which they continue to acquire, develop, and produce an expansive slate of projects spanning multiple genres and mediums.”
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