Following months of rumourand speculation, cult director Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western: Django is now before cameras. Details of theproduction were announced to the press on location in Yamagata prefecture yesterday.

Though set during the Genpeiclan wars of the 12th century, the film is being billed as Japan's first true western. The title pays homage to thespaghetti western (or "macaroni western" as they're referred to in Japan) character Franco Nero made famous in the 1960s.

In what is perhaps a firstin the Japanese film world, the film is being shot entirely in English, spokenby a cast of well-known Japanese talent that includes Hideaki Ito (the Umizaru films), Koichi Sato (Suite Dreams), Kaori Momoi (Memoirs Of A Geisha), Yusuke Iseya (Casshern) and Masanobu Ando (Nightmare Detective). The actors tookintensive English courses for two months to prepare.

Director Quentin Tarantinois also set to play a role in the film. Miike previously made a cameoappearance in Eli Roth's Hostel,executive produced by Tarantino.

The film is being produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, Geneon Entertainment, Dentsu, TV Asahi, Shogakkan and A Team.

"I want to make a film thatwill make audiences think 'Japanese are cool!'," stated the director of famousinternational festival fare such as Audition,Ichi The Killer and Big Bang Love: Juvenile A. With over 70theatrical and straight-to-video feature credits to his name, Miike is one of Japan's busiest filmmakers.

The production is alsooperating as an "open set" through location and crew company Shonai Eigamura.For a nominal fee, local residents have the opportunity to walk through theperiod sets, view filming and participate as extras.

Sukiyaki Western: Django wraps shooting at the end of November.