(October 8, 2002 – Tokyo, Japan) – Warner Bros. Pictures will begin principal photography on “The Last Samurai,” starring Tom Cruise, on October 10, 2002 in Japan; filming will continue in New Zealand and the United States. The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures; the Studio will distribute the movie worldwide. The film is directed by Edward Zwick, written by John Logan and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz, and produced by Scott Kroopf, Tom Engelman, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. The executive producers are Ted Field, Rick Solomon, Charles Mulvehill and Vincent Ward. After examining the ravages of 19th century America in his Academy Award winning Civil War drama “Glory,” director Edward Zwick explores the birth of modern Japan in “The Last Samurai,” a sweeping epic set in Japan during the 1870s. Tom Cruise stars as Capt. Nathan Algren, a respected American military officer hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the country’s first army in the art of modern warfare. As the Emperor attempts to eradicate the ancient Imperial Samurai warriors in preparation for more Westernized and trade-friendly government policies, Algren finds himself unexpectedly impressed and influenced by his encounters with the Samurai, which places him at the center of a struggle between two eras and two worlds, with only his own sense of honor to guide him. Timothy Spall is Simon Graham, Algren’s British interpreter; Billy Connolly stars as Sergeant Zebulah Gant, a close friend of Algren’s; and Tony Goldwyn plays Colonel Benjamin Bagley, a Civil War veteran seeking his fortune in Japan. Ken Watanabe portrays Katsumoto, a Samurai leader; and Hiroyuki Sanada plays the Samurai Ujio, who is angered at the arrival of Westerners in Japan. Additional supporting roles are played by Shun Sugata as Nakao, a martial arts master; Shin Koyamada as Yoritomo, a young Samurai; Seizo Fukumoto as the Silent Samurai; Shichinosuke Nakamura as the Emperor; Koyuki as Taka; Masato Harada as Ohmura, a man from the plutocracy; and in juvenile roles, Sosuke Ikematsu and Aoi Minato. The renowned production team includes director of photography John Toll, ASC (“Vanilla Sky,” Academy Award winner for his cinematography in “Legends of the Fall”); editor Steven Rosenblum (“Glory,” “Legends of the Fall,” “Courage Under Fire,” “The Siege”); and production designer Lilly Kilvert (“Legends of the Fall,” “The Siege”).
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