Sony’s determined to make as many of its first-party PlayStation games into films or TV shows as possible, with the most immediate of the bunch being Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us becoming a TV show for HBO. Also on the hypothetical adaptation docket is the samurai open-world game Ghost of Tsushima, who locked down John Wick’s Chad Stahelski to direct earlier in the year.
And while the film is a ways off, partially because Stahelski is a pretty busy man, he did reveal that his plan for the film involves the film being spoken in Japanese. Speaking to Collider’s Steve Weintraub, Stahelski talked about doing the film “all in character…It’s a Japanese thing about the Mongols invading Tsushima island. A complete Japanese cast, in Japanese.” As a self-professed lover of Japan, and one with a “samurai fetish,” he was pretty open in his excitement in bringing the game to life for a wider audience. “It’s your typical mythological story of good versus evil, finding a man, watching him change the world or the world changes him. It’s all the Joseph Campbell stuff that you’d love in a story.”
Stahelski’s desire to make a film entirely in subtitles may remind some of the 2020 Oscars, when Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho flat out said that if more people watched subtitled films, they’d be “introduced to so many more amazing films.” The director is aware that he’s got a hurdle ahead of him in pitching this idea to production companies, but is optimistic he can pull it off, especially if the action and scope are good enough that subtitles won’t actually matter.
“I’ll read subtitles all day,” he admitted. “And I think America in general, or at least the Western audiences in general are getting more and more used to that because of the influence of Netflix and streamers and stuff, where we get so much more of a world content…Look, if I nail all the other bits, I think I can inspire you enough to get in the car and go to the theatre.”
Developer by Infamous creator Sucker Punch, Ghost of Tsushima tells the story of Jin Sakai, the survivor of an attack on the titular island during 1274’s Mongol invasion of Japan. Torn between his long-held beliefs in the samurai code and adopting new, stealthier tactics, it fell to Jin to recruit allies and push back the Mongols. Tsushima became a critical and commercial darling when it released in 2020, and again in 2021 when it went to the PlayStation 5 with a new story expansion. For better or worse, the game is notably influenced by the samurai works of acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa, to the point where a black-and-white visual filter is named after the late filmmaker.