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CANNES: Jim Sturgess, Koji Yakusho in War Crimes Drama ‘Defending the Enemy’

Jim Sturgess and Koji Yakusho have come on board to star in war crimes drama “Defending the Enemy” with James Moll directing. Shooting is set to start in August.

Jonathan Sanger will produce “Defending the Enemy.” Executive producer Ellen Wander and her company, Film Bridge Intl., are overseeing the financing and selling at Cannes.

Based on the Lawrence Taylor book “A Trial of Generals,” the story follows the war crimes trial of Gen. Masaharu Homma at the end of World War II, when he was accused of organizing the brutal death march in Bataan, Philippines. Gen. Douglas MacArthur assigned neophyte defense attorney John Skeen to represent Homma.

Sturgess’ credits include “Cloud Atlas”; Yakusho’s include “Babel.” Moll won the documentary Oscar for “The Last Days.”

Sanger’s producing credits include “The Producers,” “Frances” and “The Elephant Man.”

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