Monday, May 18, 2009

Takashi Miike continues his transition to the mainstream with "Takeru"

by Chris MaGee

Takashi Miike has certainly been on a winning streak as of late. After his 2007 riff on Spaghetti Westerns "Sukiyaki Western Django" divided many of his longtime fans and the much hyped Haruki Kadokawa produced "God's Puzzle" failed to connect with Japanese audiences it looked like the 48-year-old provocateur behind such cult classics as "Audition" and "Ichi the Killer" may have lost his touch, but with the phenomenal box office successes of "Crows Zero II" and "Yatterman" it appears that Miike is experiencing a career renaissance.

It was already announced last week that Miike would be continuing his current winning streak by helming a remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 chanbara action film "Juusan-nin no Shikaku (The 13 Assassins)" for Toho and UK-based HanWay Films. Now the ever watchful folks over at Anime News Network have the news of another upcoming project for Miike that is even more in line with his present career boom.

Miike will stepping behind the camera for a live-action adaptation of Buichi Terasawa's fantasy ninja manga "Takeru: The Bad Boy of Yamato". The manga series started in 1995 by Terasawa, a pioneer of using computers to aid in the creation of his manga, follows the adventures of Takeru Ichimonji, a ninja known as the "summoner of Spirit Words", as he battles bad guys and steals the hearts of scantily-clad princesses in an alternative medieval Japan.

The script for "Takeru" was penned by Yoshiya Nagasawa, who acted as an associate producer of Kaz Kiriya's "Goemon" and produced through Nagasawa's own company Real Products along with a consortium of investors from Thailand, China, and Korea. Apparently the Pan-Asian financing behind the scenes will also be reflected in the onscreen talent with Nagasawa and Miike assembling a cast made up of actors and actresses from across Asia to high kick and somersault in front of green screens later to be replaced with CGI landscapes and settings.

"Takeru" is set to start shooting in October, only three short months after Miike is set to begin shooting "The 13 Assassins", but as any fan of Miike knows if any filmmkaer can pull off this tight production turnaround it's him. More on "Takeru", and "The 13 Assassins", as details start coming out.

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