Japanese comedian and arthouse filmmaker Kitano Takeshi will get a biopic movie, Asakusa Kid, based on his memoir about his early career. Netflix will debut the movie next year.
As reported by Variety, Asakusa Kid will be adapted by Kitano's memoir of the same name. Gekidan Hitori will serve as screenwriter and director. Yagira Yuya will play Kitano, and Oizumi Yo will play Fukami Senzaburo, the comedian who was Kitano's mentor. Sakamoto Kazutaka of Netflix will serve as executive producer, and Oyamada Yoichi of Nikkatsu is the producer.
According to Variety, the story will focus on the relationship between the young Kitano, starting out at a strip club in the Tokyo entertainment district of Asakusa, and Fukami, who was the club's star comic. Gekidan Hitori had been developing the script for six years.
"I've long awaited the day when I could work together with everyone about a person, town, and story that I love."
Since his early days of stand-up, Kitano has become almost ubiquitous in the Japanese cultural landscape. In the 1980s, he became one of Japan's top comedians, first as part of a duo called "Two Beats," which earned him his "Beat Takeshi" stage name, then as a solo act with routines that ranged from slapstick to insult humor. His acting career took off in 1983 with his role in Oshima Nagisa's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. He has been in over 50 movies since.
He began directing movies in the 1989, starting with Violent Cop and leading to a Venice Golden Lion for his 1997 movie Hana-Bi, about a cop taking his dying wife on one last road trip. His unmistakable directing style is defined by long takes, minimal camera movement, brief dialogue, deadpan humor, and sudden bursts of violence. Kitano's films often feature Yakuza gangsters, with Kitano himself frequently playing the tough guy lead. In his recent Outrage trilogy, a dishonor-among-thieves series about backstabbing Yakuza gang wars inspired by real events.
Kitano is also an accomplished painter, has published novels, and was the founder of Office Kitano, a talent agency and production company.
Asakusa Kid is scheduled to stream on Netflix in the winter of 2021.