Japanese helmer Miike sets up ‘Shield’

TV stars Osawa, Matsushima cast in actioner's lead roles

TOKYO — Helmer Takashi Miike has set TV stars Takao Osawa and Nanako Matsushima as the leads of his thriller “Wara no tate” (Shield of Straw).

The pic is based on Kazuhiro Kiuchi’s eponymous best-seller about cops transporting a confessed killer across country. They must evade bounty hunters out to collect the $12 million price on the murderer’s head offered by the victim’s rich grandfather.

Osawa, whose TV drama “Jin” about a time-traveling doctor hit a ratings height of 26.1 in its second season last year, and Matsushima, whose TV drama “Kaseifu no mita” about an unsmiling but wise housemaid reached an incredible ratings summit of 40 in 2011, play two of the cops.

Tatsuya Fujiwara, best known for his turn as the hero in the hit “Death Note” pics, plays the killer. All three have worked with the prolific helmer before.

“Wara no tate” will start shooting on Aug. 19, with a Japan release planned during the 2013 Golden Week spring holiday.

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