Sideways, the 2004 hit comedy based in the vineyards of California, is undergoing a Japanese remake.
Filming has already begun on the Japanese version in world-renowned wineries such as Beringer and Domaine Chandon.
The remake sees Paul Giamatti’s role as the wine expert played by popular Japanese character actor Fumiyo Kohinata, while Katsuhisa Namase steps into Thomas Haden Church’s shoes as his college room mate.
Whilst the original film was set in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara, the remake follows the two characters on a visit to Napa Valley, thereby allowing the film producers to incorporate famous Californian landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge.
But when filmmakers came to secure permission to film at the various wineries in the area, many of the owners were reluctant due to the original version’s negative impact on Merlot sales.
The 2004 film saw sales of Merlot drop after the main character waxed lyrical about the joys of Pinot Noir whilst making disparaging remarks about Merlot, but as Terry Joanis, marketing manager of the Frog’s Leap winery, told The New York Times: ‘Not everybody grows pinot noir. A lot of people grow merlot.’
However, after a careful campaign by the Japanese filmmakers, Beringer and Domaine Chandon signed on along with other wineries such as Frog’s Leap.
The movie is due out in Japan in the autumn.
Written by Suzannah Ramsdale