Miike Takashi, Japanese director
Getty Images/Stefania D'Alessandro

Toho backs Japanese maestro’s return to violent ‘fun’ roots

TOKYO — “The Hunger Games” films may have a Japanese predecessor – Kinji Fukasaku’s controversial 2000 hit “Battle Royale” – but they will also soon have a Japanese competitor: Takashi Miike’s “As God Says” (“Kamisama no lu Tori”.)

Based on a popular comic about teenagers forced to play a deadly game by unknown forces, the pic will be produced by Toho, with principal photography set to start in June and the Japan release, also by Toho, scheduled for the fall of 2014.

Written by Muneyuki Kanshiro and drawn by Akeji Fujimura, “As God Says” was serialized in Kodansha Comic Magazine from March 2011 to November 2012 and has sold 1.5 million copies in paperback editions.

Sota Fukushi, who recently made his breakthrough in the NHK smash-hit “Amachan” drama series, will star as an ordinary teen whose world is suddenly turned upside down one day, as he and his classmates find themselves caught up in a game whose penalty is death.

Miike, whose 2012 hit “Lessons of the Evil” had a similar high teen-age body count, while earning $23 million at the Japanese B.O., described the story of the new pic as “They live, some heads roll, they run, blood sprays, they cry, they laugh and then they die – in other words, a fun movie.”

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