Fuji TV has revealed plans to cast Yuya Yagira -- the 15-year-oldwinner of the 2004 Cannes Best Actor prize for his work in HirokazuKore-eda's NobodyKnows -in Sugar and Spice Fumizekka (Sugarand Spice - Great Flavour), a romantic dramabased on a bestselling novel by Amy Yamada.

Yagira's previous film for Fuji TV, Shining Boy and Little Randy,in which he played a teenage elephant trainer, grossed $19m (Y2.3bn) followingits July release.

Also starring is Erika Sawajiri,an in-demand model who has made a successful switch to acting, beginning withthe lead role in Kazuyuki Izutsu's 2004 Romeo andJuliet romance Pacchigi.The producer is Toru Ota, whose credits include the hit TV drama Tokyo Love Story and the film Between Love and Passion. Tsutomu Nakae is slated to direct.

Published last May, Yamada's novel about thetrials and tribulations of teenage love has sold 107,000 copies and was votedthe best romantic novel of 2005 in a readers pollconducted by Da Capo magazine. It was also awarded the Junichiro Tanizaki literaryprize. A best-selling author in Japan, with a large fan base among young women, Yamada hasa long list of publications, including BedtimeEyes, a novel of interracial relations that was filmed in 1987 by Tatsumi Kumashiro, starring Kanako Higuchi and Michael Wright.

Principal photography of Sugar and Spice is scheduled to start inJanuary, with Toho set to release the autumn of 2006.