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From ‘2046’ to ‘1905’ – Tony Leung Making Japanese Debut With Crime Period Piece

Written by on September 10, 2012 

Thanks, in large part, to his work with Wong Kar-wai — the most significant of which is probably In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express Tony Leung can be seen as one of the better-known and, more importantly, internationally respected actors to emerge from Asia these past 20 years. (You know how some people say they’d like Werner Herzog to narrate their life? I want him to do that. In Cantonese.)

Which, for yours truly, makes it a bit surprising to hear Leung is only now doing his first Japanese film. TokyoHive (via ThePlaylist) tell us the actor will make that picture 1905, a period piece (guess when it takes place) in which the actor will be seen as Yan Yunlong, “a Chinese moneylender” abroad in Japan and trying to earn keep from five Chinese revolutionaries. It’s a historically significant year for either nation, this being a period of globalism and fear amongst two nations who felt as their days of tradition were sorely numbered.

Also in the cast are Shota Matsuda and pop star Atsuko Maeda; the former plays a Kato Tamotsu, Japanese nationalist going after the same five folks, leading to a teaming of he and Yan. Meanwhile, while the latter “cooks and cares for Leung‘s character in Japan.”

J-horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is slated to helm, and, in regards to the central figures, said 1905 will strive to focus on “[t]heir experiences, their despair and their hope, they are all directly connected with the problems we are still facing today and will continue to face in the future.” Sounds good to me, though it’s really the work of Leung — who we might soon see back with Wong in The Grandmasters, barring any further delays — that’s got me looking out. Which is still more than most films can purport to have, anyway.

Production on 1905 is expected to start in November and end in January, making this a likely figure on the fall 2013 festival circuit.

Putting all this together, is 1905 one to keep an eye on?

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