Prolific Japanese actor and director Takeshi Kitano has announced plans for his next feature production, Neck, or Kubi, which the legendary entertainer is also touting as his final film as director.
Neck is based on the 2019 novel by Kitano of the same name (“Kubi”), chronicling the 1582 Honnō-ji Incident, in which major Japanese unifier Oda Nobunaga was assassinated. The historical event is a canonical event of Japanese history, Nobunaga’s murder something akin to the assassination of a US president, in simple terms. Details on Kitano’s film adaptation of the novel are spare, though it is rumored that Ken Watanabe may be attached to star, having portrayed the iconic warlord in a TV film, Oda Nobunaga, in the early ’90s. Kitano’s crew on Neck will be a largely fresh team for the longtime director, who stepped down from Office Kitano, the production company he founded, in 2018.
Having most recently wrapped up his Outrage trilogy with 2017’s Outrage Koda, Kitano has been directing films since the late ’80s, and starring in them even longer, as well as working in television and radio prolifically, as well as becoming a published novelist. Mainstream American audiences will likely recognize Kitano primarily from his role in 2017’s unfortunate Ghost in the Shell adaptation, starring Scarlett Johansson.
With more details on Neck to be confirmed it’s to be determined how final an effort Kitano sees the film, though certainly not an unprecedented move after decades of work in the Japanese film industry. For more news on Neck, including, hopefully, a substantial international release, stay tuned.