Based on Kotaro Isaka's novel The Accuracy Of Death (Shinigami No Seido) the story follows an irreverent version of the Grim Reaper (Kaneshiro) who visits people with a week left to live and passes judgment on whether they should be given more time on earth.
'He's an actor I like a lot, so I was surprised and pleased,' stated the author, who has had four previous novels adapted into films.
Born in Taipei to a Japanese father and Taiwanese mother, the trilingual Kaneshiro is a pan-Asian star who has worked with the likes of Wong Kar-wai (Chungking Express), Zhang Yimou (House Of Flying Daggers), and currently John Woo (Red Cliff).
The last Japanese film Kaneshiro starred in was Takashi Yamazaki's action opus Returner, in 2002.
The Accuracy Of Death will also star veteran actress Junko Fuji (The Inugamis) and Masami Konishi (Retribution). 29-year-old Masaya Kakehi, who has an extensive background in short films and animation, will make his feature directing debut under Returner producer Toru Horibe.
The film is slated for release next year through Warner Brothers Japan.