Deadline is reporting that prolific Japanese auteur Miike Takashi, whose work includes Audition, Ichi the Killer, 13 Assassins and Lesson of the Evil, is finally taking the plunge and making his English language feature debut. Better yet, he has cast Tom Hardy in the lead of The Outsider, set to start filming in Japan. Now in fairness, Miike has directed in English before, both in his Masters of Horror segment, Imprint and Sukiyaki Western Django, and with the Japan setting there is likely to be a fair amount of Miike's native tongue spoken in this one too, but this is still a very important step in the director's move towards making a full-blown Hollywood feature.
Set in the aftermath of World War II, The Outsider, written by Andrew Baldwin whose only other credit to-date is the as-yet un-produced Logan's Run remake, centres on an American G.I. who stays behind after the surrender and becomes part of the Japanese yakuza.
However, before any of this sees the light of day both parties have very busy schedules ahead. Hot off the heels of his Cannes competition film, Shield of Straw, Miike has at least two more projects in pre-production, while Hardy will be seen in Mad Max: Fury Road for George Miller, Animal Rescue for Bullhead director Michael R. Roskam and Child 44 for Easy Money's Daniel Espinosa. There is also talk of Hardy playing Elton John in Rocket Man and George Mallory in Everest.
As a result, this means it may be some time before we actually see cameras roll (or whatever HD cameras do - hum I guess) on The Outsider, but we will happily wait if this is to become a reality. Mainstream audiences will be largely unaware of Miike's body of work, and the very notion of an actor of Tom Hardy's intensity pairing up with Miike's deranged, unpredictable sensibility - well I'm not saying this could be a duo to give Gosling & Refn a run for their money, but wow!