Miike taking 'Yatterman' helm

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TOKYO -- Takashi Miike will direct the live-action version of "Yatterman," Nikkatsu Corp. said Monday.

Sakurai Sho has been chosen to play the lead role of Takada Gan, also known as Yatterman No. 1. The character uses the traditional children's game in which a ball on a length of string must be caught in a cup to defeat his enemies.

The casting of the other key roles, including heroine Yatterman No. 2 and villains Doronjo, Tonzler and Boyacky, will be completed in December, Nikkatsu spokeswoman Eiko Miyazaki said.

The project has a budget of 2 billion yen ($18.7 million) and the finished film is scheduled to be released in February 2009.

The original series was hugely popular in Japan when it first screened on Saturday evenings between 1977 and 1979. Nippon Television Network is planning to re-broadcast the shows beginning in January as part of the promotion for the film.
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