Japanese Auteur Sion Sono to Direct Netflix Series

Sion Sono - P 2018
Courtesy of Getty Images

It will be the second drama series from the festival circuit favorite, following his 'Tokyo Vampire Hotel' for Amazon in 2017.

Japanese cult director Sion Sono is to direct a series for Netflix, due for worldwide distribution next year. Titled Ai-naki Mori de Sakebe, which translates as "Shout in the Loveless Forest," it is inspired by a real multiple murder incident, according to the director.

The series will star Kippei Shiina (Outrage), who was in Sono's Shinjuku Swan II manga adaptation, as the murderer, Shinnosuke Mitsushima (The Third Murder) and Denden, who has appeared in six of Sono's films.

"When I received the script, I couldn't hide my surprise. It really is too funny, too gruesome and too lovely," said Shiina.

Sono produced nine-part series Tokyo Vampire Hotel for Amazon in 2017, but this will be his first for Netflix.

"I watch Netflix regularly and am really looking forward to how this will be received," said Sono. "Before Netflix came to Japan, I was talking to director Sono about how video streaming will change things…so I definitely wanted to be a part of this," said Mitsushima.

Sono won international recognition for his controversial 2008 four-hour comedy-drama Love Exposure, which was nominated in the best director category at the Asian Film Awards, took two prizes at Berlin and starred Mitsushima's sister Hikari.

In 2011, Himizu competed at Venice where its two young stars, Shota Sometani and Fumi Nikaido, won the best new young actor and actress awards.

Netflix has been investing heavily in original Japanese content. Its local platform boasts the most titles of any of the streaming giants, surpassing even the U.S. with more than 6,000 programs and films.