Variety announced overnight that the on-demand streaming service Netflix is working on a biopic on Takeshi Kitano, legendary Japanese director author of some of the greatest oriental films of the last thirty years, from Violent Cop a Hana-bi.
Officially titled Asakusa Kid, the film will be based on the memoir of the same name written by none other than Kitano himself. The project's director and screenwriter will be comedian Gekidan Hitori, who also directed the 2014 drama. Bolt from the Blue. Yagira Yuya (Nobody Knows) will play Kitano and Oizumi Yo (I Am a Hero) will play Fukami Senzaburo, a comedian who was Kitano's mentor.
Netflix's Sakamoto Kazutaka will executive produce and Nikkatsu's Oyamada Yoichi will act as producer. The focus of the story will be the relationship between the young Kitano, who the film will find at the time of employment in a strip club in the entertainment district of Tokyo, Asakusa, and his mentor Fukami, who worked as a club comedian. In a statement, Gekidan Hitori said that he developed the script over the course of six years and that "I waited a long time for the day when I could work together with everyone on a person, a city and a story that I love very much".
Kitano's career has been truly diverse: become one of the three big stars of Japanese television stand-up comedy, with shows ranging from slapstick to provocative insults to guests, he became world famous for the show Takeshi's Castle; the transition to the cinema took place in the 80s and was abrupt and unusual, first with a key role as an actor in Furyo by Nagisa Oshima, alongside David Bowie, and then as a director when in 1989 he directed Violent Cop, his debut film, a real watershed for Japanese cinema as it was created in the name of total rejection of the stylistic rules of yakuza films.
Achieved world fame with Sonatine, screened in Cannes in 1993, it won the Golden Lion in Venice in 1997 with Hana-bi: Flowers of fire. He is also an established painter, novelist and the founder of Office Kitano.
Asakusa Kid will be released on Netflix in the winter of 2021. For more news on the platform: