Kitano Takeshi to Direct Adaptation of His Novel NECK (KUBI), His Final Film?

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Kitano Takeshi to Direct Adaptation of His Novel NECK (KUBI), His Final Film?
There are a lot of question marks around this report from Variety this morning. Reports out of Japan is that Kitano Takeshi is preparing to shoot his final film Neck (Kubi) in May. It would be a period actioner adapted from Kitano's own 2019 novel (pictured left) of the same name. 
The novel “Kubi” is one of many fictional treatments of the real-life Honno-ji Incident, in which famed warlord Oda Nobunaga was assassinated at a temple in Kyoto in 1582. The characters are mainly real historical figures, including Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Nobunaga retainer who avenges his dead lord in battle, and Sorori Shinzaemon, a Hideyoshi attendant noted for his wit.
In Kitano’s novel, which starts prior to the assassination, Shinzaemon captures Araki Murashige, a Nobunaga general accused of disloyalty. The plot revolves around the fate of Murashige, whose neck Nobunaga aims to sever.
Before the skepticism kicks in there are a couple of reasons to be excited about this project. The report says that Ken Watanabe is attached to the project. That's cool. We like him. Also, Japanese period action films are some of the best period action films in the World, bar none. 
So why the question marks? This news is "according to local magazine Josei Jishin, which reported the news as an unconfirmed exclusive". Variety could not get confirmation from Kitano's agency, though local Japanese media have picked up the ball and run with it. Because it's Kitano!
And why would this be Kitano's final film? Well, the report is specific as to why, but, the multi-hyphanate is 74 now and in 2018 had stepped down from his role at Office Kitano. I'd issue this challenge to Kitano and say that Kurosawa was 83 when he directed his last film, Mâdadayo. This report from Variety does say that Kurosowa's The Seven Samurai was a big influence on Kubi.
May is not too far away. Let's see what happens. 
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