Actor Toma Ikuta has been chosen to star as Hikaru Genji in a new movie adaptation of "The Tale of Genji." The film, tentatively titled "Genji Monogatari," is being directed by Yasuo Tsuruhashi ("Ai no Rukeichi") and reportedly has a budget of more than 1 billion yen.
"The Tale of Genji," generally believed to have been writtern by noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu during the 11th century, is considered a classic piece of Japanese literature. The story has appeared in countless forms throughout the centuries, including theater, opera, and film.
Ikuta was reportedly chosen for the role by executive producer Tsuguhiko Kadokawa while filming was in progress for "Ningen Shikkaku," which opened in February. Actors who have previously played the role on the big screen include Kazuo Hasegawa in 1951 and Raizo Ichikawa in 1961. On television, the part has also been played by singer Kenji Sawada (62) and Shonentai's Noriyuki Higashiyama (43).
"Genji Monogatari" is scheduled for release in 2011.