'Shakedown' team on 'Guardian' case


TOKYO -- The team that put together the biggest live-action franchise in Japanese movie history is reteaming to make "The Guardian," the movie arm of Fuji Television said Monday.

Ryoichi Kimizuka, screenwriter on the "Bayside Shakedown" series, will direct the film known as "Daremo Mamotte Kurenai" when it hits Japanese screens. Chihiro Kameyama, head of Fuji Television Network's Motion Pictures Department, also returns as producer.

"The Guardian" will star Koichi Sato as a detective who takes on the role of protecting a convict's younger sister from the barbs of Japanese society.

Mirai Shida, 14, will play the young girl, while Yuriko Ishida and Toshiro Yanagiba will also feature.

"The film will be completely different from the 'Bayside Shakedown' titles and will take a hard look at social realities and how cruel society can be," Fuji spokeswoman Minako Mita said. "Particularly in Japan, we see this kind of retaliation by society against people who are not to blame."

"Bayside Shakedown" began as a television series that was turned into a big-screen hit in 1998, where it raked in 10.1 billion yen. The sequel, "Bayside Shakedown 2," was released in July 2003 and grossed 17.35 billion yen, making it the all-time local live-action hit.

Kimizuka directed the spinoff "The Suspect" and approached Kameyama with the outline of the story.

"We had portrayed the police force with a light-hearted, entertainment-based premise in 'Bayside Shakedown,' but 'The Guardian' was a completely different approach that I felt could also work," Kameyama said.

The movie is scheduled to be released in fall 2008.