EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director Mark Gill (England is Mine, The Voorman Problem) is set to bring the life of legendary Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase to the big screen with Ravens (The Many Deaths of Masahisa Fukase). Filming is set to begin in Japan in the spring of 2022.
Ravens marks the sophomore feature for the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated Gill and will star Tadanobu Asano in the role of the iconic photographer. Asano can be seen in the forthcoming Mortal Kombat feature as Raiden. He also appeared in Marvel Studios’ Thor franchise as Hogun and in Japanese classics such as Ichi the Killer and The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi.
Ravens centers on the tragic love story between Fukase and his charismatic then-wife Yoko, who will be played by up and comer Kumi Takiuchi. The actress has also appeared in Berlinale’s Panorama-selected A Balance. In addition, Toby Kebbell (Control, RocknRolla, The Servant) joins the cast as legendary photographic curator John Szarkowski from New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
“On discovering Fukase’s work I was not only shocked at its raw power, craft, and sheer breadth but also at how little people knew of him compared to his contemporaries,” said Gill. “His life story is compelling and tragic, he was a deeply troubled man. But it was meeting Yoko that really settled my approach to the film. I very quickly came to realize that this should be as much Yoko’s story as Fukase’s.”
He continued, “This is unquestionably a love story, but not in the traditional or conservative sense. Their marriage was a wild ride through a rapidly changing Japan with all of Fukase’s most respected work centering on or inspired by Yoko’s presence or lack of. But I dislike the word ‘muse’ and Yoko was much more than that and well ahead of her time in many ways in a country where women are still struggling for recognition.”
Asano said of playing the photographer: “It will become a great step for me to play Masahisa Fukase in Mark Gill’s feature film Ravens. I found Mark’s approach to understanding Japan’s legendary photographer Fukase totally original and inspiring. Mark’s vision probably could not have been achieved in the hands of a Japanese filmmaker. I am excited to see this movie on the screen more than anyone else.”
With the full support of Tomo Kosuga at the Masahisa Fukase Archive, Fukase’s widow Yoko Miyoshi and with full access to all his photographic images, Gill teams up once again with BAFTA Nominated producer Orian Williams (Control, England is Mine). Williams is also joined by Megumi Fukasawa Ishii, Iseki Satoru and Cyril Cadars, producer of The Open.
Williams added, “Fukase’s stunning work opens a door into the inner turmoil going on inside his mind. Mark Gill’s powerful script and vision for the film truly elevates Fukase’s inner world in what will be a compelling cinematic experience.”
Asano is repped by Masatoshi Fukuyama at Anore Inc; Takiuchi is repped by Y – Motors; Gill is repped by The Agency Simon Blakey and Kebbell is repped by ICM and Steve Alexander and Kevin Hussey.