Ken Watanabe to Star in Japan Edition of ‘The Fugitive’

Mark Schilling

Warner Bros. International Television Production and Japan’s TV Asahi network are teaming to remake “The Fugitive” as a special program that celebrates TV Asahi’s 60th anniversary.

Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai,” “Godzilla,” “Inception”) will star in the title role made famous by David Janssen in the 1963-1967 U.S. TV series and then by Harrison Ford in the 1993 film. Both the show and the movie were hits in Japan.

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The new drama will be set in present-day Tokyo just before the opening of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The wife of an elite surgeon, Kazuki Kakurai (Watanabe), is murdered and, despite Kakurai’s insistence that a man with a prosthetic hand is the culprit, Kakurai is arrested, tried and sentenced to death. But when the van taking him to prison meets with an accident Kakurai escapes. While on the run, he tries to prove his innocence.

The director is action veteran Seiji Izumi, while the producer is TV Asahi production chief Kazuhiko Fujimoto. The exact broadcast date has yet to be announced.

“Warner Brothers is giving us their full and complete cooperation,” Fujimoto said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. “We are going to make a special drama on an unprecedented scale that will be the definitive version of ‘The Fugitive’.”

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