Japanese director HirokazuKore-eda (After Life, Nobody Knows) is set to make his firstperiod drama, Hana Yori Mo Naho, withShochiku providing financing and distribution.

Based on an original storyby Kore-eda, the film is scheduled for a spring 2006 release. Shochiku willalso be handling worldwide sales.

The film will featureJunichi Okada (Tokyo Tower) as atroubled young samurai bent on revenge for the death of his father, while TadanobuAsano (Zatoichi) plays his nemesis. RieMiyazawa (The Twilight Samurai) willalso star as the widow he falls in love with.

However, instead of flashingswords and falling bodies, the focus of the story will be on humanrelationships in a crowded, vibrant, urban neighborhood.

The producers on thelong-mulled project are Sato Shiho, who worked with Kore-eda on After Life, and Enoki Nozomu, whosecredits include the Yoichi Sai drama BloodAnd Bones, which is Japan's candidate for a 2005 foreign-language Oscar.

Kore-eda's last film, drama Nobody Knows, was screened in competitionat Cannes in 2004, with 14-year-old star Yuya Yagira scoopinga best actor award. Remake rights to his second feature, After Life, have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.