Ken Watanabe Photo: Japan Today

Ken Watanabe to star in Japanese remake of ‘The Fugitive’


Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, 59, will star in a Japanese remake of the 1993 movie “The Fugitive,” playing the part of the doctor wrongly accused of murdering his wife.

Warner Bros International Television Production and TV Asahi made the announcement Wednesday. The film is being made to commemorate the 60th anniversary of TV Asahi’s launch.

The film will closely follow the plot of the Hollywood film which starred Harrison Ford as Dr Richard Kimble, who is convicted of killing his wife. He escapes and tries to find the real killer, a man with a prosthetic arm, while being pursued by the authorities. That film was based on the hit 1960s U.S. TV series which ran from 1963 to 1967, and was also popular in Japan.

The Japanese version will have the same plot, but will be set just before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Watanabe plays Dr Kazuki Kakurai, an elite surgeon who is arrested and convicted for the murder of his wife. Sentenced to death, he escapes and tries to find the “one-armed man” to prove his innocence.

The film will be directed by Seiji Izumi and broadcast in two parts on two consecutive nights.

Watanabe is already well known to overseas movie audiences for his roles in “The Last Samurai,” “Inception,” “Batman Begins,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Letters From Iwo Jima,” as well as the Broadway musical “The King and I.” He will next be seen in the May 31 release of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

He also starred in a Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s Academy Award-winning western, “Unforgiven” in 2013. He is currently filming “Fukushima 50,” in which he plays the head of a team of workers who stay at their posts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after it is hit by a tsunami on March 11, 2011.

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But with a Japanese twist... he turns himself in, to help with enquires, then confesses after days of sleep deprivation torture

15 ( +17 / -2 )

40,000 police join the hunt! I can see it now. And it only takes 6 months to find him. A hunt so intensive and expensive they had to raise consumption tax another 1% just to pay for all the overtime.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

He is a quality actor. They chose the right man for the job. He was awesome in The Last Samurai.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japanese version: a confession is forced out of him after 1 week sleep deprivation, he's jailed for life, flees 30 years later, found innocent after a week on the run, and then, next day, dies of old age. And nobody held accountable.

 ̶h̶a̶p̶p̶y̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I like him. I like the story, from the original TV series to Harrison Ford's take, and I hope this is a good one.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Some good humor on this post.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No more remakes of classics please.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Every Harrison Ford remake is destroyed: Star Wars.. well Disney.. Indiana Jones Crystal Skull- Lebouff... and the soon to be new Indy...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan running out of ideas by doing remakes

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Thanks for the giggle! The multi-talented Mr. Watanabe starred on Broadway in "The King and I".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When Hollywood remakes a Japanese film it's a "ripoff" but when Japan remakes an American movie it's a commemoration?

Interesting standard.

1 ( +5 / -4 )


Who is going to play the "Tommy Lee Jones" character?!

Sanada would be awesome!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, so much complaining. I hope it gets a US release, I want to see it. I'm still waiting to be able to see the Japanese version of Unforgiven. I heard it's pretty good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I will watch every remake of this masterpiece drama.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My take: I like him as an actor, and given the general high quality of Japanese film making, I think I will probably end up watching this remake of The Fugitive.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Who is going to play the "Tommy Lee Jones" character?!

Jason Stetham would be awesome.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think Dandy Sakano would be good in Tommy Lee Jones' part. He'd keep saying, "Gets" through the whole movie.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


I thought he was suffering from stomach cancer?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I like him.

why ? do you know that he was having an extramarital affair while his actress wife was being treated for breast cancer ?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )


Who is going to play the "Tommy Lee Jones" character?!

My recommendation: Beat Takashi with his poker-face & quiet aura of menace & intelligence.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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