On Thursday (Feb. 8), Deadline reported that decorated filmmaker Spike Lee recruited Denzel Washington to star in his upcoming thriller High and Low. The movie will serve as an English reinterpretation of Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 classic of the same name, which follows the story of a Japanese executive who has to make a choice between personal financial gain and the welfare of an employee’s child.
High and Low will be developed and produced by A24, Escape Artists and Mandalay Pictures with Lee and Alan Fox writing the script, and production will begin in March. Lee and Washington spoke on reuniting in 2023 — right before the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) initiated strikes that shut Hollywood down. High and Low eventually returned to the fold after the two unions were able to renew contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
The project will be the fifth collaboration between Lee and Washington, both of whom are esteemed Academy Award winners. Previously, the duo struck gold on 1990’s Mo’ Better Blues, 1998’s He Got Game, 1992’s Malcolm X and — most recently — 2006’s Inside Man.
In an interview with The National, Lee revealed how Washington gave himself a year to properly prepare for his role as Malcolm X. “There was no pork on his fork and no alcohol. He learnt how to pray in Arabic and he studied the Quran, and that’s because he is the most intelligent actor on this earth, in my opinion,” the BlacKkKlansman director expressed. “There are many biopics, but just because you talk and look like the subject, that is only the surface. Denzel knew that his body is a vessel. And if he did the work, that somehow the spirit of Malcom X would come through him.”