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Sony Japan Unveils China-Set Manga Adaptation ‘Kingdom!’

Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan is readying “Kingdom!,” an epic period drama based on Yasuhisa Hara’s best-selling manga of the same name.

Set in China during the Warring States Period, the film tells the story of an orphaned peasant boy who encounters another boy destined to become the Qin emperor. Serving as the key general, the peasant fights on behalf of the king to unite China.

The director is Shinsuke Sato, whose credits include the effects-heavy actioners “Gantz” (2011), “I Am a Hero” (2016) and “Inuyashiki” (2018).

Kento Yamazaki (“One Week Friends,” “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”) is starring at Shin and Ryo Yoshizawa (“River’s Edge,” “Gintama 2”) as Ei Sei. Co-stars include Masami Nagasawa, Kanna Hashimoto, Kanata Hongo, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Masahiro Takashima, Jun Kaname and Takao Osawa.

Production on the film began in April, with shoots in both China and Japan. The Japan release is set for April 19, 2019, with Toho distributing.

Sanford Panitch, president of Sony Columbia Pictures, who in charge of Sony’s international local production strategy, said that Hara’s manga, which has sold nearly 36 million copies, has a reputation of being unfilmable. “We keep making films that people think may be impossible to do,” he said at an event in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The manga, which has also generated an anime series popular in both Japan and China, “is the sort of strong IP that we’re looking for” in local production projects, he told Variety.

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