Renowned filmmaker Sang-il Lee (李相日) already have a casting history with Ken Watanabe and Satoshi Tsumabuki, among the talented stars in his latest project, Anger (Ikari).
A man brutally murders a married couple and leaves behind the words "Ikari" ("Anger") written with their blood. The killer undergoes plastic surgery and flees. [ AsianWiki ]
Tsumabuki was the lead in il-Lee's 2004 coming of age movie, 69, with Masanobu Ando and Hirofumi Arai. They had a reunion via Villain, il-Lee's most award-winning film, where Tsumabuki won his first Japan Academy Best Actor trophy. The film also went on to win various awards inside and outside Japan. In Anger, Tsumabuki is playing a gay character. I'm not sure if this is his first gay role, but this is one of the highlights of the film for me. He is supposed to be involved with the character played by Gou Ayano. Ayano is one of the three individuals suspected in perpetrating the crime, upon which the 3 arcs in the movie are supposed to be connected to.
Tsumabuki and Ayano are part of the Downtown Tokyo arc.
Ken Watanabe was the lead in the Japanese version of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, where the cast includes Yuya Yagira, Shiori Kutsuna and Akira Emoto. Critics and quite a number of movie bloggers did not appreciate the movie, saying that it's a complete copy of the Eastwood film, but using Japanese actors and storyline. I beg to disagree because I think it has its own identity and the colors and mood of the film suit me fine. This film won technical awards in the Japan Academy, including Best Cinematography and Lighting.
It is also a re-introduction to Yuya Yagira, where he plays a vagabond and a brash young half-Ainu man.
Watanabe is playing the father of Aiko (Aoi Miyazaki) who got involved with Kenichi Matsuyama, the other individual suspected of being the killer. Watanabe, Miyazaki, and Matsuyama represent the Chiba arc.
Finally, we have the Okinawa arc, represented by Mirai Moriyama as the suspect, interacting with Suzu Hirose's character - Izumi - who lives in one of the isolated islands. Moriyama is a backpacker, Shingo Tanaka who got close to the young girl and ask her not to say anything about him, thus raising suspicion from her.
What makes this movie highly anticipated, aside from the cast and the storyline is the level of interaction between the actors.
Ken Watanabe with Miyazaki and Matsuyama - I have not seen them yet together. Everyone who followed this blog knows how much Kenichi Matsuyama is admired here. Same with Aoi Miyazaki. Ken Watanabe represents an older generation, but his name has been associated with Hollywood and at the same time getting raves and awards inside Japan.
Satoshi Tsumabuki and Gou Ayano as lovers! Enough said! But if you've seen The Story of Yonosuke, you'll remember Ayano played a gay character there, though the approach is very subtle, nonetheless, Ayano always delivers.
Mirai Moriyama recently got a double nomination as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, and his level of acting is always top notch. It would be interesting to see how he play a suspect or ultimately a serial killer.
Of course, nothing is certain until we see the movie. It could turn out to be the biggest disappointment after all...