by Chris MaGee
The past few years have seen more and more Japanese films going overseas to shoot on location. This trend was kicked off with Hiroshi Nishitani's 2009 film "Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess", shot on location along Italy's Amalfi Coast, and has since gone on to include Naoko Ogigami's "Toilet", shot here in Toronto, Takehiko Shinjo's "Paradise Kiss" manga adaptation
sot in part in New York City, and the upcoming Haruka Ayase star vehicle "Hotaru no Hikari " shot in Rome. There is another Japanese production taking place in Rome that is taking the foreign production trend to all new heights though.
According to Tokyograph Toho has gone the extra step of not only having Japanese actors appear in films shot overseas, but now Hiroshi Abe will be starring as an ancient Roman in Hideki Takeuchi's adaptation of Mari Yamazaki's manga "Thermae Romae". In the film Abe (above left) will star as Lucius, an ancient Roman architect of Roman bath houses who travels through time and space to modern day Tokyo. It's here that he gains inspiration from Japanese public baths, and gets involved with Mami, a female manga artist played by Aya Ueto. Joining Abe and Ueto in the film will be Masachika Ichimura (above center) as Emperor Hadrian, and Kazuki Kitamura (above right).
Sound more than a little far fetched? Yeah, it does to us as well, but we'll have to wait until next year when "Thermae Romae" gets released in Japan to see if Toho and Takeuchi can pull this off.