Keanu Reeves in Tokyo to promote film '47 Ronin,' based on true Japanese story

TOKYO (AP) — The director of the Keanu Reeves 3-D film "47 Ronin" says he hopes his adaptation of a true Japanese story becomes a Hollywood blockbuster.

Film director Carl Rinsch, Reeves and co-stars appeared together in front of a Tokyo audience on Monday.

The film is based on an actual historical event during the Edo Period known as "Chushingura." It involved a lord who was wrongfully put to death and his followers — ronin — who sought revenge.

Rinsch said he took on the film subject and sat down with Keanu Reeves about two years ago. They wondered how they were going to take on a popular Japanese tale and do it justice. Rinsch said they decided to make the story their own, making "it a Hollywood blockbuster and see it through that lens."

"These themes of revenge, loyalty, perseverance, were things we knew from the very beginning were universal," said Rinsch, who is making his directorial feature debut with the film.

Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada stars as the main supporting character, Kuranosuke Oishi, a leader of the men. Sanada said that during the filming Reeves became more and more of a samurai, while the character he played became more "wild" in style.

Sanada said Reeves and himself hoped to depict the friendship of two characters, which transcended borders and social positions, in the film.

Reeves said "47 Ronin" is a story where people "share this journey to reclaim their land, their honor, their way. It was very special to me to be part of it."

Reeves, who grew up attracted to martial arts movies, makes his directorial debut this year with the martial arts action movie "Man of Tai Chi."

The film "47 Ronin" premiers in Japan on Dec. 6 and opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 25.