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TIFFCOM: Shochiku Doubles up on Keigo Higashino Adaptations

Fans of Japanese novelist Keigo Higashino are in for a double treat in the next few months, as two more of his books make it to the big screen. Rights to both are being offered for sale by Shochiku at the TIFFCOM market this week.

First in cinemas will be “The House Where The Mermaid Sleeps,” a drama about an already estranged couple who torment each other further when their daughter is put on to a new-tech life support system. The film is directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi and stars Ryoko Shinohara and Hidetoshi Nisjijima. Its world premiere is on Monday as a gala at the Tokyo International Film Festival. It releases in Japanese theaters on Nov. 16.

The book was written to commemorate Higashino’s 30th year as a novelist. And became an instant bestseller, with 270,000 copies sold in the first month alone. Prolific, Higashino has seen more than 20 of his books adapted as Japanese films, including “Suspect X,” “Naoko,” and the recent smash hit “Miracles of the Namiya General Store.” Others have been turned into TV series, and a further three have been adapted as movies in Korea.

“Parallel World Love Story,” was one of Higashino’s earliest stories, drafted in his twenties and completed in his thirties, and selling over 1 million copies. As the title suggests, the story involves two boys and a girl who travel between parallel universes. The different dimensions complicate the romance and the leading character is never quite sure whether girl loves him or his best friend. Directed by Yoshitaka Mori, the film stars Yuta Tamamori, Riho Yoshioka, and Shota Sometani, and is set for release in the first half of 2019.

Shochiku’s other big title for TIFFCOM is “our Departures.” Directed by Yasuhiro Yoshida (“Birthday Card”,) the film is the latest in the “Railways” franchise and this time sets a woman (Kasumi Arimura) as the protagonist. Also starring the veteran Jun Kunimura (“Kill Bill,” “Parasyte,” and “Ichi The Killer”,) the film releases in Japan on Nov. 30.

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