by Chris MaGee
One of the most successful Japanese films, at least in terms of crossover appeal in the West, in the past 20 years has to be Masayuki Suo's 1996 comedy "Shall We Dance?" The film followed a salaryman's discovery of himself through ballroom dance lessons and made its star Koji Yakusho an international sensation. It was also turned into a film starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere in 2004, but we'll try and forget about that. Now director Masayuki Suo will be returning to the the big screen with another dance-themed film.
The 54-year-old filmmaker is set to direct "Dancing Chaplin", a loose adaptation of French choreographer Roland Petit's ballet "Chaplin". This return to dance for Masayuki Suo is a labour of love in more ways than one. The star of "Dancing Chaplin" will be Suo's wife, ballet dancer Tamiyo Kusakari. Although Kusakari will be starring opposite dancer Luigi Bonino (above) she will be apparently taking on six different roles in the film including a turn as Charlie Chaplin on whom the ballet was based.
Look for "Dancing Chaplin" to his Japanese theatres (and undoubtedly the film festival circuit) in the spring of 2011. Thanks to Tokyograph for the details on this.