Because one “Vice” wasn’t enough for filmmaker Michael Mann, he’s returning to helm the pilot episode of the next HBO Max series “Tokyo Vice” after a little absence. The last time we saw the acclaimed director, he had released “Blackhat” in 2015… which seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
Previous television series in this genre include “Chernobyl,” based on the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union, “The Deuce,” about the legalization of the porn industry in New York City in the 1970s, and, of course, “Band of Brothers,” the 2001 World War II miniseries about the United States Army’s “Easy” company. But there are more outstanding drama series like this on the way, like “Tokyo Vice,” about an American journalist stationed at a Japanese newspaper to report on corruption and organized crime alongside the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Ansel Elgort, well known for his role in “Baby Driver,” will play the journalist in question, Jake Adelstein, who penned a book about his experiences titled “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat.”
With the exception of a stray producing credit for James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari” and his now in-development Enzo Ferrari project, the director of films such as “Heat,” “The Insider,” and the increasingly popular “Miami Vice” has largely remained silent lately. That’s about to change with “Tokyo Vice,” which will bring Mann to the small screen for one of HBO Max’s most intriguing forthcoming projects.
While we wait for the debut of “Tokyo Vice,” feel free to take this brief refresher course on what we know so far.
“Tokyo Vice” will describe Adelstein’s experiences as a journalist at the Tokyo newspaper “Yomiuri Shimbun,” where he covered organized crime for 12 years. Adelstein was also the first foreigner to work as a crime reporter at the publication. The team behind “Tokyo Vice,” created and written by Tony Award-winning playwright J.T. Rogers, is basing the plot on Adelstein’s factual book about his experiences. The episode follows the reporter as he joins the Tokyo vice squad in order to gain more direct knowledge on the organized criminal syndicates at work.
“Tokyo Vice” takes place in Japan and focuses on the criminal underbelly in and around Tokyo, including the corrupt police force. The episode is based on Jake Adelstein’s biography “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan,” published in 2009, which chronicles his firsthand experiences working on the beat for a local Japanese newspaper. The book is available for purchase through your favorite store for those who wish to study up on the source material before the show’s premiere.
But, like with any crime thriller, not everyone is who they claim they are, and Adelstein has a lot of secrets to uncover. While organized crime is the reporter’s primary focus, his growing friendship with the vice squad allows him to investigate any corruption inside the police department, but it is a difficult task. Adelstein gradually gains a few critical allies as the true power brokers in Tokyo show themselves.
In the series, Tokyo Vice regulates some common faces of Japanese actors Ito Hideaki as Tokai, Kasamatsu Sho, and Yamashita Tomohisa as The Man from Toronto have been observed join the cast The series is supported by HBO Max, Japanese pay-TV provider Wowow, and Endeavor Content. Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe, Rachel Keller, Ella Rumpf, and Kikuchi Rinko are among the previously confirmed stars of the Japanese and English-language criminal drama series.
The series is partially based on American journalist Jake Adelstein’s biography “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan,” published in 2009. J.T. Rogers, a Tony Award-winning writer, devised and wrote the series. Destin Daniel Cretton (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) is also in charge of the direction. Ken Watanabe as Hiroto Katagiri, Rachel Keller as Samantha, and Ella Rumpf as Polina accompany him. Throughout the first season of “Tokyo Vice,” a trio of Japanese actors – Ito Hideaki as Miyamoto, Kasamatsu Sho as Sato, and Yamashita Tomohisa as Akira – will appear in recurrent roles.
Along with Michael Mann, Destin Daniel Cretton will direct many episodes of “Tokyo Vice” Short Term 12,” “Just Mercy,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”. The cast will be led by Ansel Elgort as Jake Adelstein, although it is unclear how WarnerMedia will handle serious allegations of Elgort’s sexual wrongdoing.
Full Cast of “Tokyo Vise”
Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe, Rachel Keller, Ella Rumpf, Shun Sugata, Sho Kasamatsu, Masato Hagiwara, Kosuke Toyohara, Ayumi Tanida, Noemie Nakai, Tomohisa Yamashita, Koshi Uehara, Ayumi Ito, Hideaki Ito, Rinko Kikuchi, Alisa Wild, Yoshiro Kono, Faye Butler and Aver Hamilton II
Directors of “Tokyo Vise”
Destin Daniel Cretton, Hikari and Michael Mann
Producers of “Tokyo Vise”
Jake Adelstein, Alex Boden, Ansel Elgort, John Lesher, Alan Poul, J.T. Rogers, Emily Gerson Saines, Ken Watanade, Dylan Weathered, Cambra Overend, Kayo Washio, Satch Watanabe, Brad Carpenter, Todd Brown, Destin Daniel Cretton, Michael Mann, Ben Rosenblatt, Ralph Winter and Jessica Brickman
The criminal drama series, starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe, is partially based on American journalist Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand story of working on the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat. The series, which was shot on location in Tokyo, depicts Adelstein’s (Elgort) daily slide into Tokyo’s neon-soaked underworld in the late ’90s, where nothing and no one is exactly what or who they appear.
The first announcement of “Tokyo Vice” actually precedes WarnerMedia’s glitzy new streaming service, HBO Max, by many months. With such high-profile talent on board, it’s evident that the series was approved in the hopes of attracting additional members to the then-new service. Although we haven’t received an official premiere date other than the hazy timeline of early 2022, “Tokyo Vice” is set to premiere exclusively on HBO Max, which has become a sort of safe haven for ambitious shows and could even resurrect some projects that have suddenly found themselves without a home.
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