Actor Keanu Reeves prepared for his role as the Samurai Kai in 47 Ronin by immersing himself in Japanese folklore.
In director Carl Rinsch's film, out now on Blu-ray and DVD, a Samurai band set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master.
"I was not familiar with the legend, but as soon as I knew about the project, I did my research and read as much as I could about it," Reeves said.
"Carl is very collaborative and passionate. He is amazing with story, but he is also a visionary with great energy and enthusiasm.
"This movie is one of those rare examples of something that comes your way and is just so exciting from the beginning."
Reeves' thought of his lead character Kai as an outsider who yearned to be accepted.
"He is honorable and a man of nature, which helps ground him. Kai is also a bit cursed, and he is aware of that.
"I always thought the tale of the outsider and these Ronin becoming Samurai outsiders was universal because all cities and towns and places have these kinds of events and integration problems that happen.
"I tried to get in touch with who Kai is and how this affected him. I wanted my character to have a dignity and respect towards the world around him and others. I also wanted him to be capable, to be a hunter and a tracker that is connected to nature."
Reeves also had to get to grips with the katana, the Japanese long sword.
"I did a lot of exercises with the sword and some dieting as well.
"I love shooting action and was very excited to be in a samurai film. The fights were tough but fun to do. As I was working with great professionals, I didn't get beat up much, although I did hit Hiroyuki Sanada a couple of times by mistake."
The tale is as rich as any Shakepearian tragedy.
"The relationship between Kai and Mika is in the great tradition of impossible romantic love stories. That pure love and yearning of something that cannot be is, in a way, a sweet pain. It hits a soft spot.
"The audience should expect a big movie with great themes. I think it is a film that is entertaining but also has an intimacy to the story and the acting that I hope people will enjoy as well. There is action, drama, love and suspense. It has it all!"
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