Toho sets film sequel to NHK TV series 'Vulture'

Pits original NHK TV lead Omori vs. a Chinese fund manager

TOKYO – A big screen sequel to NHK's 2007 award-winning high-finance TV drama, "Hagetaka" ("Vulture") has gone into production toward a June 6 release after last-minute rewrites to reflect the global financial slowdown.

The film, directed by Keishi Otomo and set to be distributed by Toho, sees Nao Omori reprise his role as the "vulture" fund-manager back from the burst U.S. bubble economy to buy up struggling Japanese corporations for his foreign bosses.

It comes as pubcaster NHK follows the model of commercial rivals Fuji TV and TBS in producing cinematic spin-offs from popular TV dramas and adds a contemporary twist, pitting Omori’s character against a Chinese "red vulture," played by Tetsuji Tamayama, who is intent on taking over an ailing Japanese carmaker.

The movie script, penned to reflect the growing economic power of China, was rewritten after what the Japanese call the "Lehman Shock," said producer Kei Kurube.

The original drama was based on the Jin Mayama novels  "Hagetaka" and "Buyout." It won the 59th Prix Italia in 2007.
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