Fortissimo Films has struck a deal with Japan’s Asmik Ace Entertainment to handle international sales on Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s best-selling novel Norwegian Wood.
Asmik Ace is co-producing the Japanese-language project with Fuji TV. Currently in pre-production, the film is being lined up for a spring 2010 launch. It stars Japanese heartthrob Kenichi Matsuyama, Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi and Kiko Mizuhara.
Murakami resisted for many years giving up adaptation rights to his popular 1987 novel, which follows a businessman reminiscing about being a student during the Sixties, but relented because he is an admirer of Tran’s work. He was also reassured by the proposal from Asmik Ace producer Shinji Ogawa.
The deal for all rights outside Japan and Korea was brokered by Fortissimo co-chairmen, the late Wouter Barendrecht and Michael J. Werner, with Asmik Ace manager of international production & marketing, Joe Ikeda.
Fortissimo is also selling Asmik Ace’s Air Doll, directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, which is screening in Un Certain Regard.
Tran, a French-Vietnamese filmmaker, won the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 1993 for The Scent Of Green Papayaand most recently directed English-language thriller I Come With The Rain, starring Josh Hartnett, which is being released later this year.