Cult director Takashi Miike is pushing himself to go beyond the normal Japanese crime thriller with his upcoming film, “Wara no Tate” (Straw Shield). The film, which stars Tatsuya Fujiwara, Nanako Matsushima and Takao Osawa, is based on the book by Kazuhiro Kiuchi.
Filmed in both Japan and Taiwan, “Wara no Tate” deals with a hitman (Fujiwara) who kills the granddaughter of a tycoon. When the tycoon places a 1 billion yen bounty on his head via full-page newspaper ads, he gives himself up to police. A special squad has to escort him from Fukuoka to Tokyo in one piece. Complicating matters is the fact that some of the police team are ambivalent about risking their lives for the hitman.
Asked if he was starting to copy generic Hollywood crime thrillers, Miike, 52, said during a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, “No, I’m not trying to copy anyone. But I am trying to go beyond the limits of past Japanese action movies.”
On the other hand, Hollywood might come calling and ask him to direct an English version of the film. “In that case, I’d do it—for the money,” Miike said.
Fujiwara said he relished playing a bad guy. “I want to be hated by the entire nation,” he joked. “But only on the screen, of course.”
“Wara no Tate” opens in Japan on April 26.