FX has given a 10-episode order to limited series period drama, Shōgun, based on James Clavell’s best-selling novel.
The network has described the project as its largest international scale production to date, having been confirmed for more than seven months while FX worked out the logistics for the highly ambitious series.
John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions said, “The story of Shōgun has captivated audiences since James Clavell first released his epic novel more than 40 years ago. The themes of an outsider encountering a new culture are as relevant today as then. We are honored to bring the series to today’s viewers through our partnership with executive producers Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Michael De Luca, Clavell’s daughter Michaela, and Eugene Kelly. We are equally thrilled that Ronan Bennett and Rachel Bennette are writing the new adaption, and that Tim Van Patten will bring his vision and expertise to directing this saga of adventure, power and loyalty that the world has come to know as Shōgun.”
Set in feudal Japan, the story charts the collision of two men from different worlds and a mysterious female samurai: John Blackthorne, a risk-taking English sailor who is shipwrecked in Japan; Lord Toranaga, a shrewd daimyo, at odds with political rivals; and Lady Mariko, a woman with valuable skills but dishonourable family ties, who must fight to prove her value.
During the FX panel at the Television Critics Association, Landgraf spoke a little about how the new version will be different to the award-winning 1980s miniseries on NBC, starring Richard Chamberlain, Yoko Shimada and Toshiro Mifune:
“I agree that if you sort of just exoticize and fetishize Japanese culture through the Western eyes and male gaze, it would probably not fly. But I think there is an exciting opportunity to tell the collision of two cultures from both perspectives in a way that wasn’t done before. […] (The FX version) is told from multiple points of view, not just the singular Western white male point of view, it’s told through many Japanese points of view, and there is a lot of fun and fascinating work going on to try to balance the story out and tell it from both points of view.”