'Tsurugidake' also added to slate

TOKYO — Isao Yukisada’s romantic drama “Kondo wa aisaka” (This Time a Devoted Husband) leads the Toei lineup for the coming year, unveiled Thursday by the studio.

Yukisada, who helmed the smash 2004 teen drama “Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World,” will film a script by Mayumi Nakatani and Chihiro Itou about a fortysomething couple facing boredom as they entertheir 10th year of marriage. Casting is still under way, though shooting is set to begin in December. The pic is skedded for a 2009 release.

Another major film in the Toei lineup is “Tsurugidake: ten no ki” (Tsurugidake — Recording the Control Point), about a survey team that in 1907 undertook a dangerous mountain expedition to fill in the last unmarked corners of the Japanese map. Helmed by veteran cinematographer Daisaku Kimura and starring Tadanobu Asano, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ryuhei Matsuda and Aoi Miyazaki, the pic is skedded for a June bow.

Yojiro Takita’s “Tsurikichi Sanpei” (Fishing-Crazy Sanpei) is based on a long-running Takao Yaguchi comic, about the adventures of a fishing-mad boy. Release is skedded for March, with Kenta Suga starring as Sanpei. Takita’s “Departures,” set in the funeral industry, is cleaning up at the Japanese B.O. and has been selected as Japan’s entry in the foreign-language Oscar race.

Police drama “Warau keikan” (The Laughing Cop), based on the first of a series of novels by Jo Sasaki,  is uber-producer Haruki Kadokawa’s first pic as a helmer in 11 years. Nao Omori stars as a cop caught in a dark web of departmental corruption. Shooting started Sept. 18 and is skedded to wrap at the end of October. Movie will be released next fall.

 At the lineup press conference, Toei prexy Yusuke Okada also announced the launch of a project to develop Toei acting talent. Veteran thesp Renji Ishibashi is in charge of training the first crop of aspiring actors, including the sons of well-known thesp Shinya Owada and comic Tsurube Shofukutei and the grandson of thesp Chisu Ryu, a favorite of world-renowned helmer Yasujiro Ozu.

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