by Chris MaGee
For an ex-boy band member I was really impressed with the performance that Junichi Okada gave in Hirokazu Kore-eda's 2006 jidai-geki drama "Hana", so I'm not sure whether to be excited about the announcement posted at Tokyograph today or not. They are reporting that Okada will be starring opposite Kumiko Aso in a romantic drama titled "Oto-na-ri". Okada will play a successful photographer named Satoshi who shoots fashion models by day, but whose real passion is photographing landscapes. His next door neighbour, Nanao (played by Aso), is a florist who is saving up to study abroad in Paris. A familiarity starts to grow between them as they begin hearing each other through the thin wall that separates their two apartments.
Now, this could go two different ways. One way and you could have something interesting and artsy along the lines of Woing Kar Wai's phenomenal "In the Mood for Love", or the other way and you could have Harlequin Romance shmaltz. Seeing that this will be helmed by Naoto Kumazawa who directed the 2006 romance "Rainbow Song" starring Juri Ueno and Hayato Ichihara and it looks like things could lean over into Harlequin territory.
I guess we'll have to wait until Summer of 2009 when "Oto-na-ri" is scheduled to be released in Japanese theatres to find out one way or the other.