Yosuke Eguchi has been cast as the lead in the big-budget Japanese action fantasy Goemon. He stars as the legendary 16th century ninja bandit Goemon Ishikawa. The cast also includes Takao Osawa, Ryoko Hirosue and comedian Gori.

Goemon is director Kazuaki (Kaz) Kiriya's sophmore feature after a three-year absence since 2004's sci-fi fantasy Casshern. Kiriya is also known a photographer and the director of ex-wife Utada Hikaru's music videos.

The film is being produced by Taka Ichise (The Grudge, The Ring), who is one of the few producers to work equally in Japan and Hollywood.

The film combines Japanese and European-influenced period and modern costumes and architecture in the story of a Robin Hood-like character who steals gold to give to the poor. Kiriya has stated the style of the film is aimed more at global audiences.

While 39-year-old Eguchi is not well known overseas, he is one of Japan 's most famous TV drama stars and has appeared in films such as The Haunted Samurai, Unfair: The Movie and Taiwan 's Silk.

Ozawa is currently starring in Universal-Shochiku's Midnight Eagle while Hirosue is best known overseas for her role in Wasabi.

The film, which has just wrapped principal photography, was shot almost entirely in front of green screens. Post-production is expected to take a year. It was previously announced that the film would be jointly distributed by Warner Entertainment Japan and Shochiku in March 2009.

Kiriya is also attached to direct another Ichise-produced sci-fi project in Hollywood. The alien invasion story, scripted by Eric Heisserer, is in development at Warner Brothers.