by Chris MaGee
Remember when Tadanobu Asano was that actor who starred in left-of-center films and was dubbed the "Johnny Depp of Japan"? It seems like the 37-year-old actor has, like Depp, graduated to the big leagues and has in the past two years starred in some major studio pictures both at home (Villon's Wife, Mt. Tsurugidake) and abroad (Mongol). Now Asano is going to be stepping into the shoes of one of Japan's most respected manga artists in an upcoming biopic.
As we reported just last month that director Hideaki Sato would be making a film based on the life and work of famed gag manga artist Fujio Akatsuka (above) best known for creating such iconic manga as "Tensai Bakabon", "Osomatsu-kun" and "Himitsu no Akko-chan". Titled "Korede Iinoda! Eiga: Akatsuka Fujio" the film will chart the relationship between Akatsuka and his longtime editor Toshiki Takei between 1967 and 1974. Now Tokyograph is reporting that Tadanobu Asano has been cast as Akatsuka in "Korede Iinoda! Eiga: Akatsuka Fujio". Co-starring with Asano will be 21-year-old actress Maki Horikita as Toshiki Takei. This won't be the first time that Asano has starred as an eccentric manga artist. Asano starred as manga artist Yoshiharu Tsuge in Teruo Ishii's 1998 film "Screwed".
"Korede Iinoda! Eiga: Akatsuka Fujio" is currently film and is due to be relkeased in Japanese theatres next year.