New Line Wages 'Battle Royale'
Ultra-violent original produced controversy, awards in Japan
The company has snagged the remake rights to the Japanese cult classic "Battle Royale," one of the most audaciously violent films most Americans haven't even heard of.
The original, which Variety somewhat tenuously refers to as sci-fi, focuses on a not-so-futuristic Japan in which unemployment and low national morale have somehow prompted the government to create an unusual game: Each year, a single class of ninth graders is dropped off on a remote island. Every student is provided with a weapon, or something that might be used as a weapon. They're set loose and given three days to kill each other. Only the winner survives.
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the "Most Dangerous Game"-esque saga was nominated for a slew of Japanese Academy awards when it was released in 2000, including best picture. It was followed, somewhat less successfully, by 2003's "Battle Royale II -- Requiem."
New Line has set Neal Moritz and Roy Lee to produce. Thus far, no writer or director for the remake have been announced.