FX orders Shōgun limited series with Game of Thrones director
FX just ordered a project that it’s calling its largest production to date: An adaptation of James Clavell’s epic best-selling novel Shōgun.
The production team includes Tim Van Patten (Sopranos and the Game of Thrones pilot) who will direct multiple episodes, Eugene Kelly (Westworld) and Ronan Bennett (Public Enemies) who will write the series, and producers Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Michael De Luca, and Michaela Clavell.
“The story of Shōgun has captivated audiences since James Clavell first released his epic novel more than 40 years ago,” said FX chief John Landgraf, who announced the order at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills on Friday. “The themes of an outsider encountering a new culture are as relevant today.”
Shōgun, set in feudal Japan, “charts the collision of two ambitious men from different worlds and a mysterious female samurai: John Blackthorne, a risk-taking English sailor who ends up shipwrecked in Japan, a land whose unfamiliar culture will ultimately redefine him; Lord Toranaga, a shrewd, powerful daimyo, at odds with his own dangerous, political rivals; and Lady Mariko, a woman with invaluable skills but dishonorable family ties, who must prove her value and allegiance.”
The miniseries will consist of 10 episodes. The novel Shōgun was published in 1975 and has since sold 30 million copies worldwide. There’s no cast or release date yet.
The project is bound to attract close scrutiny as Hollywood productions set in Asian cultures have drawn plenty of criticism in recent years for their hiring decisions and storylines.
At the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Friday, FX chief John Landgraf assured that this new version will be rather different than the 1980 miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain which primarily focused on the perspective of its white male lead.
“It’s really told from multiple points of view, not just the singular western white male point of view,” Landgraf said. “It’s told from many Japanese points of view. I’m learning and understanding things about feudal Japanese culture and religion that I never knew before. We’re casting wonderful Japanese actors. If you exotics or fetishize Japanese cultures through the male gaze [that would be a problem], but I believe there’s an opportunity to tell the story of two cultures in a way that wasn’t done before.”