Rising Sun (1993)

R | 129 mins | Drama, Mystery | 30 July 1993

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HISTORY

According to an 8 Mar 1992 LAT article, Twentieth Century Fox paid $1 million for film rights to Michael Crichton’s latest novel, Rising Sun, several months before its 14 Feb 1992 publication. Although Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment executives Tom Pollock and Peter Guber also expressed interest, the “arguably xenophobic” subject matter ultimately prompted them to pass, since both companies were under the ownership of Japanese conglomerates at the time. Heeding the controversy of selling a supposedly “Japan-bashing” story to the world’s second most profitable territory, Fox executive Joe Roth claimed to view the book as a “wake-up call” as the U.S. continued to fall behind Japan in the race for economic and technological superiority.
       While Crichton adapted his work along with first-time screenwriter Michael Backes, the 18 Mar 1993 LAT reported that director Philip Kaufman, a screenwriter himself, requested several revisions before demanding to rewrite the entire script on his own. Crichton and Backes were removed from the project in Nov 1991, at which time David Mamet was hired to complete an uncredited “polish” of Kaufman's draft before the start of production. Although Crichton claimed the studio had not pressured him to diminish the novel’s disputed racist overtones, Kaufman’s edits changed the identity and ethnicity of the murderer in the final draft.
       The 13 Apr 1992 DV credited Roth with casting Wesley Snipes as “Web Smith,” who was originally written as Caucasian in Crichton’s novel. The 18 Mar 1993 LAT claimed that Crichton named the leading character “John Connor” because he always envisioned Sean Connery in the role.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, ... More Less

According to an 8 Mar 1992 LAT article, Twentieth Century Fox paid $1 million for film rights to Michael Crichton’s latest novel, Rising Sun, several months before its 14 Feb 1992 publication. Although Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment executives Tom Pollock and Peter Guber also expressed interest, the “arguably xenophobic” subject matter ultimately prompted them to pass, since both companies were under the ownership of Japanese conglomerates at the time. Heeding the controversy of selling a supposedly “Japan-bashing” story to the world’s second most profitable territory, Fox executive Joe Roth claimed to view the book as a “wake-up call” as the U.S. continued to fall behind Japan in the race for economic and technological superiority.
       While Crichton adapted his work along with first-time screenwriter Michael Backes, the 18 Mar 1993 LAT reported that director Philip Kaufman, a screenwriter himself, requested several revisions before demanding to rewrite the entire script on his own. Crichton and Backes were removed from the project in Nov 1991, at which time David Mamet was hired to complete an uncredited “polish” of Kaufman's draft before the start of production. Although Crichton claimed the studio had not pressured him to diminish the novel’s disputed racist overtones, Kaufman’s edits changed the identity and ethnicity of the murderer in the final draft.
       The 13 Apr 1992 DV credited Roth with casting Wesley Snipes as “Web Smith,” who was originally written as Caucasian in Crichton’s novel. The 18 Mar 1993 LAT claimed that Crichton named the leading character “John Connor” because he always envisioned Sean Connery in the role.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography took place between 22 Jun and 3 Oct 1992. Although the majority of filming was completed on Twentieth Century Fox soundstages in Los Angeles, CA, additional locations included the Sherwood Country Club, the California Plaza high-rise, and the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilmington. Fashion mogul Giorgio Armani was originally brought on as a costume consultant; however, due to his admiration for both Connery and Kaufman, Armani agreed to outfit Connery’s character with the season’s newest unreleased fashions, and is credited onscreen as the actor’s personal wardrobe designer.
       Various contemporary sources estimated a total production cost between $25 million and $40 million. Although a 9 Feb 1993 DV item stated that Connery and Snipes had recently finished dialogue “looping” at Kaufman’s postproduction headquarters in San Francisco, CA, the 1 Feb 1993 Var reported that Fox had scrapped plans to move up the release date to Easter 1993, since Kaufman needed more time to complete the film while the studio developed a marketing campaign. According to the 18 Mar 1993 LAT, Kaufman struggled to cut the running time to less than two hours, as specified in his contract with Fox. The film was ultimately released at 109 minutes.
       During this time, Kaufman also fought to receive sole screenwriting credit from the Writers Guild of America (WGA). As of 17 Mar 1993, however, the WGA decided that the director’s rewrites were not “sufficient enough to remove the original screenwriters from the film’s credits,” and all three men are credited onscreen.
       In the months leading up to the 30 Jul 1993 release, the film continued to receive an onslaught of negative media attention due to the controversial nature of its source material. In a column for the 3 May 1993 LAT, Media Action Network for Asian-Americans (MANAA) members Guy Aoki and Philip W. Chung wrote that the organization requested a meeting with Fox executives during production to discuss their issues with the script’s representation of Japanese people. They also suggested the picture include an opening statement noting that the film did not intend to perpetuate negative stereotypes against Asians and Asian-Americans, but Fox repeatedly canceled meetings with MANAA, and claimed that a written statement would harm the film’s “commercial potential.” Although other reports stated that Warner Bros. agreed to acknowledge the racial insensitivity of such films as Falling Down (1993, see entry) by working with multicultural groups, Fox flatly refused to consult with the Asian Pacific American community on any future projects. As a result, the 2 Aug 1993 LAT stated that MANAA organized a protest outside the Mann National Theatre in Westwood, CA. The 30 Aug 1993 LAT published a commentary from the Korea Times (English Edition), indicating that the film also sparked ire from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Nosotros, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Center, and several other multicultural and human rights organizations.
       A 21 Sep 1993 HR article stated that the film also used several taboo terms in the Japanese-language dialogue that were considered inappropriate for Japanese audiences. Since the Japanese distributor insisted the scenes be overdubbed prior to theatrical release, the film was denied a spot at the Tokyo International Film Festival, which only accepted submissions to screen in their original, unaltered form.
       Despite the international controversy, the 2 Aug 1993 LAT reported a domestic opening weekend gross of $15.5 million from 1,510 theaters. The 11 Nov 1993 DV noted that the film had taken in $63 million in the U.S., and was projected to have a successful opening weekend in nine key Japanese cities.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Apr 1992.
---
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1993.
---
Daily Variety
11 Nov 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1993
p. 7, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1993
Section I, p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
8 Mar 1992
p. 24, 26.
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1993
Section F, p. 1, 3-4.
Los Angeles Times
3 May 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Jul 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Jul 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
2 Aug 1993
Section F, p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
30 Aug 1993.
---
New York Times
30 Jul 1993
Section C, p. 1.
Variety
1 Feb 1993.
---
Variety
1 Aug 1993
p. 43.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Walrus & Associates Ltd. production
A Philip Kaufman film
Produced and released by Twentieth Century Fox
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Line prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Cam loader
Steadicam op
Chief lighting tech
Key grip
Rigging gaffer
Elec best boy
Elec best boy
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key rigging grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Grip
Still photog
Addl photog by
Addl photog by
Video assist equip
Video playback
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Post prod asst
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Junior set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Leadman
Leadman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Drapery foreman
Gen const foreman
Gen const foreman
Gen const foreman
Propmaker foreman
Propmaker foreman
Tool foreman
Plaster foreman
Plaster foreman
Paint foreman
Paint foreman
Paint foreman
Paint foreman
Paint foreman
Paint foreman
Standby painter
Greens foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Sean Connery's ward des by
Cost supv
Sean Connery's costumer
Key costumer
Key costumer
Key costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus ed
Apprentice mus ed
Addl mus by
Japanese orch provided by
Contractor
Score mixer
Japanese liaison/Score coord
SOUND
Sd des
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd eff
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Apprentice dial ed
ADR supv
Asst ADR ed
Foley supv
Foley ed
Asst foley ed
Foley artist
Asst foley artist
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Post prod sd services provided by
Marin County, California
Post prod sd services provided by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec visual eff by
A division of LucasArts Entertainment Company
Visual eff supv, ILM
Visual eff prod, ILM
Visual eff art dir, ILM
Concept artist, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Asst visual edd eff, ILM
Computer graphics coord, ILM
Art dept coord, ILM
Visual eff Harry artist, ILM
Visual eff Harry artist, ILM
Video eff ed
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Hair supv
Hairstylist
Sean Connery's hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Video supv
Video eng
Asst prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst to Philip Kaufman
Asst to Peter Kaufman
Asst to Sean Connery
Asst to Wesley Snipes
Casting assoc
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc scout
Police/tech adv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Post prod accountant
Craft service
Caterer
Caterer
First aid
Vector automobile provided by
Loc security provided by
Spec consultant
Laboratory robots provided by
and his running team, MIT
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based upon the novel Rising Sun by Michael Crichton (New York, 1992).
SONGS
“Tsunami,” written by Seiichi Tanaka, performed by Seiichi Tanaka and the San Francisco Taiko Dojo
“Don’t Fence Me In,” written by Cole Porter
“Single Petal Of A Rose,” written by Duke Ellington
+
SONGS
“Tsunami,” written by Seiichi Tanaka, performed by Seiichi Tanaka and the San Francisco Taiko Dojo
“Don’t Fence Me In,” written by Cole Porter
“Single Petal Of A Rose,” written by Duke Ellington
“Chattanooga Choo Choo,” written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon
“Latin Lingo,” written by Lawrence Muggerud, Louis Freeze and Senen Reyes, performed by Cypress Hill, courtesy of Ruffhouse/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“Love Shack,” written by Frederick Schneider, Catherine Pierson, Keith Strickland and Cindy Wilson, performed by The B-52s, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Give Me The Simple Life,” written by Josef Myrow and Harry Ruby
“How Gone Is Goodbye,” written by Pam Tillis, Bob Dipiero and Jan Buckingham, performed by Pam Tillis, courtesy of Arista Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
30 July 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 30 July 1993
Production Date:
22 June--3 October 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
19 July 1993
Copyright Number:
PA620083
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
129
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Languages:
Japanese, English
PCA No:
31992
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Early one February morning, executives of the Nakamoto Corporation, a Japanese weapons manufacturer, meet to discuss the purchase of struggling Los Angeles, California-based company, MicroCon. However, due to the deal’s impact on international relations, they must wait for approval from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. To celebrate the potential sale, Nakamoto hosts a black-tie cocktail reception at the company’s high-rise office building. During the party, a young man named Eddie Sakamura slips away to the empty forty-sixth floor boardroom with his professional hired escort, Cheryl Lynn Austin. Around 9:00 p.m., Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Web Smith receives a call from his former partner, Tom Graham, informing him that Cheryl has been murdered. Graham assigns Smith to investigate along with retired police captain and Japanese cultural expert John Connor. Smith wonders if Connor can be trusted, but the senior officer proves to be an effective liaison when a Nakamoto representative named Ishihara refuses to cooperate with police. Once inside the boardroom, the detectives find indications that Cheryl was asphyxiated during a session of sadomasochistic intercourse. Afterward, they speak with the American security guard on duty, who reveals that the Japanese security team bugged the boardroom with highly advanced camera technology to record all the negotiations with MicroCon on laserdisc. Connor notices that the forty-sixth floor disc has recently been replaced in an effort to hide evidence. As he enters the party to question Ishihara, Smith watches the security cameras and also notices that his ex-wife, a powerful lawyer, is in attendance. Using Cheryl’s business card, Connor and Smith visit the bordello where she lived. Connor finds a plastic bag and restraints tied to the bed, while Smith notices several photographs ... +


Early one February morning, executives of the Nakamoto Corporation, a Japanese weapons manufacturer, meet to discuss the purchase of struggling Los Angeles, California-based company, MicroCon. However, due to the deal’s impact on international relations, they must wait for approval from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. To celebrate the potential sale, Nakamoto hosts a black-tie cocktail reception at the company’s high-rise office building. During the party, a young man named Eddie Sakamura slips away to the empty forty-sixth floor boardroom with his professional hired escort, Cheryl Lynn Austin. Around 9:00 p.m., Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Web Smith receives a call from his former partner, Tom Graham, informing him that Cheryl has been murdered. Graham assigns Smith to investigate along with retired police captain and Japanese cultural expert John Connor. Smith wonders if Connor can be trusted, but the senior officer proves to be an effective liaison when a Nakamoto representative named Ishihara refuses to cooperate with police. Once inside the boardroom, the detectives find indications that Cheryl was asphyxiated during a session of sadomasochistic intercourse. Afterward, they speak with the American security guard on duty, who reveals that the Japanese security team bugged the boardroom with highly advanced camera technology to record all the negotiations with MicroCon on laserdisc. Connor notices that the forty-sixth floor disc has recently been replaced in an effort to hide evidence. As he enters the party to question Ishihara, Smith watches the security cameras and also notices that his ex-wife, a powerful lawyer, is in attendance. Using Cheryl’s business card, Connor and Smith visit the bordello where she lived. Connor finds a plastic bag and restraints tied to the bed, while Smith notices several photographs of Cheryl with Eddie Sakamura. When another escort named Julia stops by to ask about Cheryl’s whereabouts, she reveals that Eddie was abusive and controlling. Connor suspects that “the bad guys” sent Julia to mislead them, and warns Smith to never underestimate the cunning of their opponents. Next, they go to Eddie’s home, where he is throwing a private after-party. After attempting to lie about his association with Cheryl, Eddie admits that he brought her to the Nakamoto gala and promises to call Smith later with pertinent information. Connor agrees to trust him, because Eddie’s father, a prominent businessman, once saved his life in Japan. Back at the police station, Ishihara hands over the missing security laserdisc for fear of a public scandal. Connor, Smith, and Graham watch footage of Cheryl having sex with a shadowy figure on the boardroom table, and identify Eddie Sakamura in one of the frames. Although Connor remains skeptical, Smith and Graham decide to raid Eddie’s house at 2:11 a.m. Eddie flees in his sports car, but crashes on the highway in a fiery explosion. The next morning, Smith awakens to find that Eddie left him a message at 2:10 a.m., pleading, “Urgent! Must speak about missing disc.” He rushes to tell Connor, who is in the middle of a round of golf with his friend, Nakamoto president Yoshida-san. While he waits for them to finish, Smith receives a message from one of his co-workers warning that Willy “the Weasel” Wilhelm, a notoriously devious reporter now tied to the Japanese, has uncovered old bribery charges against Smith and Graham. Leaving the country club, Connor admits he confiscated the laserdisc and had it analyzed by a computer expert named Jingo Asakuma, who indicates that the disc was actually a modified copy in which Eddie’s face was digitally pasted over that of the killer. Despite this evidence, Graham pressures Smith to give him the disc so he can close the case. That afternoon, influential U.S. Senator John Morton asks the detectives if the murder is linked to the MicroCon sale, and politely urges them to discontinue their investigation. Afterward, Smith learns that reporter Willy Wilhelm leaked details about the bribery charge to his ex-wife, who now demands sole custody of the Smiths’ daughter. Smith has a breakdown, and the two officers return to his apartment, where they find Eddie Sakamura still alive. Eddie reveals that he was not driving his car when it crashed, and gives them the original, unaltered laserdisc. Just then, Graham arrives and begs Smith to drop the case. Although Graham pretends to fret about the lingering bribery charges, Connor realizes he is actually working with the Japanese and wants to cover up the murder. As Connor and Smith smuggle Eddie out of the building, the young man is killed by a group of Japanese gunmen planted outside. Smith is shot in the crossfire and blacks out, but a bulletproof vest prevents any serious injury. When he revives, he is interrogated by Police Chief Olson, who is also working with the Japanese. Olson forces Smith to take a leave of absence. Although police cannot locate Connor, Smith finds him back at Jingo Asakuma’s laboratory analyzing the original laserdisc. The footage reveals that Cheryl actually passed out after having sex with Senator Morton, and was later killed by a Nakamoto employee who knew how to carefully evade security cameras. Connor explains that Eddie, son of Nakamoto’s corporate rival, likely offered Cheryl’s services to the senator so he would vote against the MicroCon sale. Smith sends still photographs of the video to Senator Morton, who panics and commits suicide. Meanwhile, Connor, Smith, and Jingo barge into a meeting between Nakamoto and MicroCon to present the unaltered evidence. Yoshida-san is furious to learn about the attempted cover-up, and Bob Richmond, Nakamoto’s U.S. liaison, suddenly flees the building. Connor and Smith give chase to an adjacent construction site, but are unable to catch up to Richmond, who is pushed into a plot of freshly poured quick-dry concrete by two of Eddie Sakamoto’s friends. Smith and Connor part ways, confident that they uncovered the true identity of Cheryl’s killer. However, Jingo later wonders if Richmond really was guilty, or just took the fall for one of his superiors at the company. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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