‘Shōgun’s Takehiro Hira And Akira Emoto Join Brendan Fraser’s ‘Rental Family’ At Searchlight

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EXCLUSIVE:  BAFTA Award nominee Takehiro Hira (ShōgunGran Turismo) and Japanese Academy Award winner Akira Emoto have rounded out the cast of Searchlight’s Rental Family directed by Hikari (Beef) and starring The Whale Best Actor Oscar winner Brendan Fraser and Mari Yamamoto (Pachinko).

Cameras are now rolling in Japan, with production to wrap around May. A release date has not been set.

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Deadline first told you about the project, which follows a lonely, down-and-out American actor (Fraser) living in Tokyo. He starts working for a Japanese “rental family” company to play various stand-in roles in other people’s lives. Along the way, he forges some surprising human connections and discovers unexpected joys within his built-in family.

“It’s an absolute dream to bring Rental Family to the world,” said Hikari. “I am truly so thankful for my collaboration with my partners at Searchlight and Sight Unseen and for their never-ending support, our wonderful cast and crew for their hard work and dedication putting this film together, and foremost, the multi-talented, incredibly caring and soulful Brendan Fraser for willfulness to be our hero on this journey.”

“This is such an exciting project for us, and one that we know will resonate widely,” said Matthew Greenfield, President of Searchlight Pictures. “With Hikari, we’ve assembled the perfect cast and production team, and we cannot wait for everyone to see this film.”

The comedic drama is produced by Eddie Vaisman and Julia Lebedev of Sight Unseen (Film Independent Spirit Awards winner A Thousand and One; Bad Education), Hikari and Shin Yamaguchi (37 Seconds). The script is written by Hikari and Stephen Blahut (37 Seconds).

EPs are Blahut, Tomo Koizumi, Jennifer Semler, Oren Moverman and Leonid Lebedev.

Hira can currently been seen in FX’s limited series Shōgun. He recently wrapped production on Guy Maddin’s latest feature Rumors, in which he stars opposite Cate Blanchett, and The Amateur, starring Rami Malek and Rachel Brosnahan, which will hit theaters on November 8. Other recent credits include Gran Turismo, G.I. Joe’s Snake EyesLost Girls and Love Hotels, and Monarch. He was nominated for a BAFTA for his work in the series Giri/Haji.

He also has a prolific career in his native Japan, appearing in several films including Takashi Miike’s Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, Ace Attorney, Aku No Kyōten, and the Japanese blockbuster The Floating Castle.

Emoto formed the theater company Tokyo Battery in 1976, for which he served as chairman of the troupe. He went on to win the 22nd Japan Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Dr. Akagi. Since then, he has won awards including the Medal with Purple Ribbon, the 41st Hoso Bunka Foundation Award for Best Performance in the program category, and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

Hira is represented by CAA and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner Auerbach Hynick Jaime LeVine Sample & Klein. Emoto is repped by Knockout.

SVP Production Taylor Friedman and Manager of Creative Affairs Daniel Yu are overseeing Rental Family for Searchlight, reporting to Heads of Production and Development Katie Goodson-Thomas and DanTram Nguyen.

On Hikari’s production team are DP Blahut, production designer Norihiro Isoda (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi), editor Thomas A. Krueger (Shōgun, 37 Seconds), costume designer Meg Mochizuki (37 Seconds), and hair and makeup artist Hiromi Momose (Like Father, Like Son).

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