Toho, Fuji TV film unit surface sub pic

Pic is budgeted at $11.3 mil

TOKYO — Japan will soon have its own version of a submarine action-adventure pic a la “Das Boot” and “U-571.”

Studio major Toho Co. and the film division of network Fuji Television, one of Japan’s leading production houses, have announced principal photography on “Lorelei — the Witch of the Pacific Ocean” started earlier this month. A first two-minute trailer of available footage was screened at the announcement.

Budgeted at ¥1.2 billion ($11.3 million) — hefty for Japanese standards — and directed by SFX-specialist Shinji Higuchi, the film is based on the bestselling adventure novel “Lorelei of the End of the War” by Harutoshi Fukui, published in late 2002.

“Lorelei” tells of a submarine and its crew during the last days of World War II on a race to stop the U.S. from dropping a third atomic bomb on de facto defeated Japan.

The film stars Koji Yakusho (internationally best know for his 1996 outing “Shall We Dance?”) in the lead as captain of the sub.

Photography will be completed by the end of June, with post-production scheduled to last until late September. Sound effects will be provided by Skywalker Sound, continuing Kameyama’s cooperation with the Lucas Digital company. A wide release of “Lorelei” is set for spring next year.

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