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Cannes-Nominated Yuya Yagira Headlines Japanese Atomic Bomb Movie ‘Gift of Fire’

Yuya Yagira
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“Gift of Fire,” a major new film about Japan’s attempt to build an atomic bomb in the waning days of World War II, has completed principal photography and is now in post, producers revealed Friday.

Best known internationally among the cast is Yuya Yagira, who won the Best Actor prize in Cannes for his work on Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Nobody Knows.” He plays a young scientist on the bomb-building team who begins to doubt the purpose of what he is doing.

His character, as well as the story, is based on the diary of an actual atomic researcher that was discovered 10 years ago by the film’s scripter and director, Hiroshi Kurosaki. Working mainly for public broadcaster NHK, Kurosaki directed episodes of the smash-hit 2017 NHK drama “Hiyokko.” His script for the film won a special mention for the 2015 Sundance Institute/NHK Award.

Also starring in “Gift of Fire” are Kasumi Arimura and Haruma Miura, both top-of-the-line talent in Japan.

The producers are Ko Mori (“Lords of Chaos”) of the Los Angeles-based Eleven Arts Studios, Katsuhiro Tsuchiya (“37 Seconds”) and Takahiro Hamano (“Burning”). The composer is New York-based Nico Muhly, whose credits include the Academy Award-winning “The Reader.” Peter Stormare (“Fargo”) also rounds out the cast as a voice actor.

The film is scheduled to open in North America later this year. A Japanese release will follow in the major Aeon Cinema chain.

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