Japan’s ‘Always’ gets second take

First pic grossed $27 mil, nabbed 12 Japan Academy Awards

TOKYO — A sequel to hit dramedy “Always — Sunset on Third Street” is about to go before the cameras, the NTV web has announced.

Released in November 2005, the first pic, about residents of a Tokyo neighborhood in 1958, grossed $27.6 million and snagged 12 Japan Academy Awards, including picture and director for helmer Takashi Yamazaki.

“Always 2,” set in the same neighborhood in 1959 and based on a long-running comic by Ryohei Saigan, again stars Shinichi Tsutsumi and Hiroko Yakushimaru as a couple running an auto repair shop and Hidetaka Yoshioka as a failed novelist who runs the candy shop.

Koyuki (“The Last Samurai”) plays a woman with a shady past with whom the novelist is hopelessly in love– and who is his inspiration for another attempt to write the Great Japanese Novel.

Shooting will start in January with Robot Communications handling production. Toho will release in November.

NTV, which heads the consortium backing the film, is aiming for a B.O. of ¥10 billion ($85.5 million). The budget is $12.8 million, slightly up on the previous pic.

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