Thesp making ‘Memories’

Watanabe's first exec production venture set for May

Japanese thesp Ken Watanabe is exec producing his first film, the Japanese-language “Memories of Tomorrow” (Ashita no kioku).

Set for release by Toei next May, it will also be Watanabe’s first starring role in a Japanese film; he plays a successful businessman with a perfect family whose life is shattered by early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Pic is helmed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi (“Collage of Our Life”).

Watanabe has cast TV comic Noritake Kinashi and TV thesp Kenji Sakaguchi in major supporting roles and is reportedly involved in editing and scoring as well as  preparing a show reel for foreign sales.

While building his Hollywood profile with roles in “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Batman Begins” and “The Last Samurai,” Watanabe has also been appearing in Japanese TV dramas and films, including the period drama “Year One of the North,” a major hit for Toei this year.

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