Almost two decades on since Hollywood’s most consistent star, Denzel Washington, teamed up with the one and only Spike Lee for Inside Man, the modern cinema icons are reuniting for their second crime thriller collaboration: Apple Studios and A24’s remake/reinterpretation of the legendary Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low.
While specific story details about this brand new iteration are still very much under wraps, the 1963 original — loosely based on the Ed McBain novel King’s Ransom — involves a wealthy executive named Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) who deliberately puts himself into debt in a high-risk bid to enact a hostile takeover of a shoe company.
Things become complicated when he receives a phone call from someone claiming to have kidnapped his son just as he’s about to execute his master plan. But there’s a second twist: in a case of mistaken identity, the kidnappers have accidentally abducted his chauffeur’s son. Kingo must negotiate the innocent child’s freedom while assuming control of the company.
The 1963 High and Low has been hailed as “one of the best detecting thrillers ever filmed.”
Spike Lee is, of course, directing from a screenplay he co-wrote with Alan Fox while Denzel Washington is believed to be playing the lead role; though no other casting has been confirmed just yet. It’ll be produced by Todd Black (Washington’s The Equalizer Trilogy, The Taking of Pelham 123, Fences) for Escape Artists and Jason Michael Berman (Uncorked, Air) for Mandalay Pictures.
The High and Low remake/reinterpretation marks Washington and Lee’s fifth collaboration after Malcolm X, He Got Game, Mo’ Better Blues, as well as the aforementioned Inside Man, of which the former co-starred alongside Clive Owen, Willem Dafoe, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Given the Academy Award-winning actor has earned Oscar nominations from projects handled by all of the names listed above — and his 10th from A24’s The Tragedy of Macbeth — I’d say this one’s in safe hands.
As for a release date, currently, it’s scheduled for a theatrical run by A24 before eventually being launched globally on Apple TV+. Production is set to kick off in March 2024.