Ken Watanabe & Yuji Okumoto heat up the summer with blockbuster film Inception
Already hailed as ‘mind-blowing’ and ‘close to perfection’ in early reviews, upcoming suspense thriller Inception is easily the most anticipated movie of this summer.
With Christopher Nolan, the mind behind Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, as the writer-director and a star-studded cast list (Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page play the lead roles) ready to impress, the cast and crew ensemble alone sets a high bar for the upcoming release. And here’s a tidbit that’ll get many of you buzzing: stars in this film include Academy Award-nominated Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Batman Begins) and Yuji Okumoto (Karate Kid II).
Although the plot behind Inception has been kept under the wraps for an agonizingly long time, the basic premise has been revealed: Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond, Aviator) plays Don Cobb, the CEO of a company that has designed a way to access people’s dreams. With his team, Cobb uses this ability in order to extract crucial information by entering their minds. Ellen Page (Juno) plays Ariadne, a college student in Paris and member of this team who designs and engineers dreams. (Read the official synopsis from Warners Bros here!)
Watanabe steps into the role of the film’s villian Saito, a powerful business dignitary who blackmails Cobb. “I wrote the part [of Saito] specifically for Ken because I wanted to work with him again,” said Christopher Nolan, who worked with Watanabe in Batman Begins back in 2005. “I enjoyed directing him so much on ‘Batman Begins, but his role was smaller and we didn’t have a lot of time together.”
“This time I made sure he had a bigger part. Ken is an extremely charismatic performer, a true movie star,” the writer-director continued. “He is a consummate actor who knows how to get the most out of every scene. It’s just a pleasure to watch him work.”
“When Chris called and asked me to join him, it was easy to say yes, because it was a wonderful opportunity to work with a director I loved working with before,” Watanabe expressed. “And after I read it, I was even more pleased. So my heart and my head told me I definitely had to do this movie.”
Inception will mark Watanabe’s first time getting second-billed in a Hollywood film. ”Watanabe’s role … is one of the most significant dramatic Hollywood roles for an Asian actor in years,” the official press release states. In semi-related news, it’s been reported that Inception was partially shot in Tokyo, Japan being one of six countries that served as filming locations for this reportedly $160 million film.
On top of DiCaprio, Page, Watanabe and Okumoto, this star-studded ensemble cast also includes Asian-American Dileep Rao (Avatar), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, Mysterious Skin,), Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, Red Eye), Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Tom Berenger (Training Day) and two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules).
The behind-the-scenes crew includes three-time Oscar-nominated director of photography Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight, The Presite, Batman Begins), production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), two-time Oscar-nominated editor Lee Smith (The Dark Knight, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Oscar-nominated costume designer Jeffrey Kruland (Collateral) and Oscar-nominated special effects supervisor Chris Courbould (The Dark Knight). Furthermore, Academy Award-winning Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight, The Lion King) has composed the musical repertoire behind this movie.
…So needless to say, this movie will fall nothing short of epic. “‘Inception’… will be called many things, starting with James Bond Meets ‘The Matrix,’” one print review by Rolling Stone praises. “Inception rewards the attention it demands … In this wildly ingenious chess game, grandmaster Nolan plants ideas in our heads that disturb and dazzle. The result is a knockout. But be warned: Inception dreams big. How cool is that?”
Inception is set to hit the silver screen on July 16 in theaters nationwide. If you haven’t seen the trailers yet, make sure to watch below; they’re quite the visual eye-feast!