Warner Bros. casting for their upcoming live-action adaptation of Akira, based on the Japanese manga ("comic book") series by Katsuhiro Otomo has been pretty, well, Caucasian so far. Garrett Hedlund is set to play heroic biker gang leader Shotaro Kaneda, while Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga) has been offered the role of Kei, a powerful medium and Kaneda's love interest, and Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter were offered the roles of The Colonel and Lady Miyako, respectively. Like we said, pretty Caucasian.
Of course, the live-action Akira will take place in New Manhattan, unlike the Neo-Tokyo of the manga series and 1988 anime adaptation, but that hasn't stopped a furor of online criticism. George Takei (Star Trek) has led an online petition against the "whitewashing" of Akira and recently told The Advocate that if the studio continues with its casting, they could "offend Asians, number 1; number 2, they offend the fans". Whatever the motivation, it seems like Warners is finally looking to bring an Asian actor onto the cast, with Ken Watanabe possibly stepping in for Oldman. several contenders up for the role of Tetsuo >> Posted 11.23.11 by Ryan
Much of the marketing for Inception, has focused on the reality-warping special effects and mind-bending "dream thief" concept at the heart of the plot of the movie. Apparently, Warner Bros. feels confident that potential moviegoers finally have the concept down, because the studio recently released a huge selection of new still images that are less about the action and effects and more about the main characters of the movie, as played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, and Ken Watanabe. Accompanying the stills are also several pictures from the set showing writer-director Christopher Nolan giving his actors some direction. Posted 06.27.10 by BrentJS
With Inception just under a month away, a deluge of promo material has been released. Writer/director Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated thriller dropped 4 new posters and 5 new pictures. Revealed in the latest trailer, the "dream-theft" concept and an introduction of each of the major characters. All this using almost entirely new footage. Watch the Trailer and Read More From Murphy and Watanabe >> Posted 06.23.10 by Ryan
Though it has yet to receive a U.S. release date, the premiere of director Mikael Håfström's Shanghai was recently held in Beijing in advance of its June 17th theatrical release date in China. It's not surprising, then, that the movie's first trailer had Chinese subtitles.
A selection of theatrical and character teaser posters have been released in Chinese, as well. Thankfully, the behind-the-scenes featurette with Håfström and several cast members released for the Chinese premiere is in English — a great way to get acquainted with this thrilling, action-mystery love story set in Shanghai during WWII. See the feaurette and posters >> Posted 06.12.10 by BrentJS
Pajiba is hinting that Japanese actor Ken Watanabe is making his directorial debut on a World War II film called 442nd. It's an indie project produced by Bill Gerber (The Dukes of Hazzard, Beerfest, Gran Torino) and is about the true story of the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a military unit assembled during WWII and sent on suicide missions in Europe. For their efforts against the Nazis, they became the most decorated unit in American military history.
While yet a directorial virgin, Watanabe has worked with some of the best movie directors around, like; Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan, Rob Marshall, and Edward Zwick. There is no doubt he's learned a few things from these masters, and knows his way behind a camera. Posted 06.01.10 by reelz
The latest trailer for director Christopher Nolan's mysterious thriller Inception hails from Japan, so it's no coincidence that it focuses on Ken Watanabe, the Japanese actor who plays Saito, a target of Leonardo DiCaprio's dream-thievery.
Missing from many of the previous trailers, Watanabe's Saito speaks halfway through the Japanese trailer, which concludes with commentary from Watanbe that's of particular interest to anyone who speaks Japanese. Yet another way Nolan is trying to keep details of his movie a secret. Watch the trailer >> Posted 05.27.10 by Ryan
An update on the casting of Christopher Nolan's Inception:
Ken Watanabe has been cast as the villain of the movie, which Nolan vaguely and teasingly described as a psychological thriller about "the architecture of the mind." You might remember Watanabe as the Japanese general in Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, or as Tom Cruise's Samurai-sword-wielding better half in The Last Samurai.
Tom Hardy, who portrayed the villain in Star Trek: Nemesis, has also been signed. He'll play an associate of Leonardo DiCaprio's successful businessman, who will most likely be the protagonist.
Hardy and Watanabe join a cast that also includes Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Caine. Posted 05.05.09 by reelz