Wowow, Japan’s leading premium pay-TV broadcaster, has boarded the high profile international TV series “Tokyo Vice,” on which Michael Mann is set as the pilot episode director. Wowow has struck an all-rights distribution deal for Japan that will also see the company co-produce with Endeavor Content and HBO Max.
The series is loosely inspired by American journalist Jake Adelstein’s 2009 memoir, “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.” Adelstein was the first foreigner to work the crime beat for the paper and spent 12 years there. The book was first published in 2009 and has been translated into multiple languages. Lesher optioned the book eight years ago and has spearheaded development and production.
Four time Oscar-nominee, Mann also serves as executive producer with J.T. Rogers, Emmy-winner Emily Gerson Saines, Emmy-winner Alan Poul, Jake Adelstein, Golden Globe-nominee Ansel Elgort, Destin Daniel Cretton, Ken Watanabe, Brad Caleb Kane, Kayo Washio, and Academy Award-winner John Lesher. Tony-winning playwright J.T. Rogers created and wrote the series.
The series recounts Adelstein’s first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat with Elgort starring as Adelstein as he embeds himself into the Tokyo Vice police squad to reveal corruption. The series chronicles Adelstein’s daily descent into the sordid underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing and no one is truly what or who they seem.
The show began filming in Tokyo at the beginning of the year, but went on a production hiatus due to coronavirus. Production will restart this week.
Watanabe stars as a Tokyo police detective, while Rinko Kikuchi stars as a journalist, Rachel Keller features as an American expat making her living as an upscale club hostess, and Ella Rumpf is another hostess at the same club.
The show is a co-venture between Endeavor Content and Wowow, on which Endeavor Content is handling global distribution. In the U.S, it will stream exclusively on HBO Max.
“ ‘Tokyo Vice’ is a true passion project for me as I’ve had my eyes on the material for quite some time and trusted business relationships with some of the key players involved for an even longer period of time,” said Kayo Washio, Wowow’s Los Angeles office head. “It is the type of story that deserves and necessitates this pedigree of creative talent assembled to bring it to life.”
“Ensuring authenticity and being true to Japanese culture and society were top priorities for our team. To have a local partnership to ensure this vision is truly valuable and we look forward to creating many seasons together,” said Prentiss Fraser, EVP, international TV sales at Endeavor Content.