Chadwick Boseman has landed another epic leading role, as the Black Panther star is set to play Yasuke, the first and only African samurai in Japanese history, according to a report by Deadline.
“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best-kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai,” Deadline quoted Boseman as saying. “That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.”
Talk of the project’s development began back in 2017, when Mike De Luca and Stephen L’Heureux claimed to be co-producing a movie based on the real-life historical character of Yasuke.
Yasuke landed in Japan in 1579 after originally being taken from his village near the Nile River to India, where he was under Portuguese servitude, according to the biography African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan, by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard, Huffington Post reported.
Once there, Yasuke became an indentured bodyguard to a powerful Portuguese Jesuit missionary, who in turn gave Yasuke over as a “weapon bearer and novelty” to the Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in a diplomatic effort to appease him.
From there, the legend goes that Nobunaga awarded Yasuke the coveted title of samurai, making him the first and only non-Asian to earn such a distinction.
“People in the streets did not only gape at him,” the biographers wrote. “They bowed, heads to the earth, as they addressed him.”
Doug Miro, co-creator of the Netflix series Narcos, will adapt the biography into the script, according to Deadline.
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