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Chadwick Boseman To Play African Samurai Yasuke

Chadwick Boseman's future as warrior king T'Challa in the Black Panther films is assured. But he's digging into some real world history for a new project, signing up to star in Yasuke.

Narcos co-creator Doug Miro is writing the script fro the film, which will follow the first African samurai to serve in Japan. Yasuke was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. The first black man to set foot on Japanese soil, Yasuke’s arrival aroused the interest of Oda Nobunaga, a ruthless warlord seeking to unite the fractured country under his banner. A complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect – and ultimately, the honor, swords and title of samurai.

"The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai," Boseman says in a statement. "That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it."

The film was originally based at Lionsgate, but producer Erik Feig, who used to work there, pried it from development hell and is developing the film with his Picturestart company alongside Mike De Luca and his De Luca Productions banner, Stephen L’Heureux and his Solipsist banner, and Boseman and Logan Coles’ X●ception Content. It'll have some competition, as MGM is at work on a rival take on the tale, but with Boseman aboard, this one has a head-start.

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