Shogun director doesn’t want to hear your Game of Thrones comparisons

Chris Tilly
Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Yoshii Toranaga in Shogun, sitting on the floor.

Shogun director Jonathan van Tulleken is done with Game of Thrones comparisons, and believes there are other shows the mini-series should be compared with.

Shogun is the second big-budget adaptation of James Clavell’s hugely successful historical novel about the first Englishman in Japan, following on from the Richard Chamberlain mini-series that aired in 1980.

The story of John Blackthorne – played by Cosmo Jarvis in the new show – is loosely based on the life and times of William Adams, who washed up on the shores of Japan and ended up amassing immense social and political power in the country.

Episodes 1 and 2 are currently streaming on Hulu and FX in the US (Disney+ in the UK), and comparisons are already being made to Game of Thrones. Which the show’s helmer doesn’t embrace.

Shogun director doesn’t want to hear your Game of Thrones comparisons

While speaking to BBC, Shogun director Jonathan van Tulleken said House of Cards and Succession are better points of reference than Game of Thrones.

“Truly it is a character piece and it is about this intrigue,” Van Tulleken tells Today – as reported by Deadline. “This is a dangerous world where violence can come out of nowhere but the real danger is in the machinations. A conversation can be as dangerous as anything else. A better comparison [than Game of Thrones] would be Succession or House of Cards.

As for how the show looks, Van Tulleken says: “This is made hand-in-hand with the Japanese because it is a story about two cultures encountering each other and seeing ourselves in each other.

“We are way past [the Western gaze] in terms of audience sophistication and the stories we want to tell. What we really want to tell is a story of political intrigue, imprisonment, and entrapment.”

The series has been met with much acclaim since launching last week and currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 99%. You can read more about Shogun here and find more amazing TV shows to stream here.