Hsu Kuang-han, the star of Taiwan box office hit Marry My Dead Body, will next be seen in romantic drama 18x2 by acclaimed Japanese director Michihito Fujii.
The actor, also known as Greg Han, will play opposite Japanese actress Kaya Kiyohara in the romance, which is in post-production. A first look at the two actors in the film can be seen above.
It is produced by Taiwan’s Jumpboys Films and Japan’s Babel Label, founded by director Fujii.
Happinet Phantom Studios will release the film in Japan in May 2024 and is launching sales at the Asian Contents & Film Market (ACFM), which opens in Busan today.
The story is based on a web essay, which was picked up by Taiwan star Chang Chen, whose acting credits include Dune, Red Cliff and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He is executive producer on the feature. Fujii has written the screenplay.
The story centres on Jimmy (Hsu), a young man in Taiwan who meets Ami (Kiyohara), a backpacker from Japan, and the two grow close during a summer working together. But as Jimmy struggles to commit to the relationship, Ami returns home. Some 18 years later, he makes the journey to Japan in a bid to see his first love again, recalling memories of those days and meeting a variety of people on his trip.
Hsu has become a star in his native Taiwan over the past year following his performance in Marry My Dead Body, an LGBTQ+ supernatural comedy directed by Cheng Wei Hao that has become the seventh-highest grossing local film of all time in Taiwan. His performance a homophobic policeman who unwittingly becomes married to a male ghost has earned him a best actor nomination at the upcoming Golden Horse Awards, while the film is Taiwan’s submission for the Oscars.
Hsu’s credits also include Chung Mong-hong’s A Sun, which premiered at Toronto and went on to win several prizes including best film at the Golden Horse Awards in 2019. He is also among the voice cast of upcoming animation Pigsy, which launched sales at this year’s Cannes Marche, and the Taiwan version of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy And The Heron.
Kiyohara, his 18x2 co-star, has appeared in numerous features and TV dramas including Takahisa Zeze’s In The Wake, which played Busan International Film Festival in 2021, and recent release One Second Ahead, One Second Behind.
Director Fujii is known for The Journalist, which became a box office hit in 2019 and won three awards including best film at Japan’s Academy Awards the following year. It was spun-off into a Netflix series of the same name, also directed by Fujii. He more recently directed Netflix feature Village.