According to a report in Screen Daily, the unpredictable, prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike has two new surprises in store: he is directing his first film in English, and he is directing what is considered to be Japan's first Western. Miike had previously expressed his interest in making a Western, and now his dream has come true with a remake of Sergio Corbucci's classic Django (1966). Rather than the old West, however, the new film will be set during the Genpei clan wars of the 12th century.

The cast members, including Hideaki Ito (Onmyoji), Koichi Sato (Gonin), Kaori Momoi (Memoirs of a Geisha), Yusuke Iseya (After Life) and Masanobu Ando (Battle Royale), took an intensive two-month English classes to prepare for their roles. Last year, Miike directed the one-hour, made-for-TV movie Imprint in English, but Django will be his first English-language theatrical release. Miike began his directing career in the early 1990s, pumping out dozens of straight-to-video films, sometimes up to five or six in a given year. In 1996, he broke through to another level with his film Fudoh, and followed that up with the international cult classics Audition (1999), Dead or Alive (1999), Ichi the Killer (2001) and Visitor Q (2001). Miike is also known for his ability to jump genres, making horror, action, sci-fi, family movies and musicals on the turn of a dime.

"I want to make a film that will make audiences think 'Japanese are cool!'," Miike told the press on Sunday, an ironic statement coming from one of the coolest filmmakers in the world. It's likely that Quentin Tarantino had something to do with inspiring this unique new project; Tarantino has long championed Miike's films, and Miike made a cameo appearance in Hostel, which was executive produced by Tarantino. Now Tarantino will return the favor by playing a part in Django.

The movie is will shoot in Yamagata Prefecture and is scheduled to wrap by the end of November.