Having taken a cinematic break after his tenure on Lost, Matthew Fox is set to star in two high-profile films in 2012: Rob Cohen’s I, Alex Cross and Marc Forster’s World War Z. Looking even further ahead, Fox is now reported to have landed a role in Emperor, by director Peter Webber (Girl with the Pearl Earring). Emperor spins a love story amidst the turmoil of the final days of World War II, as General Douglas MacArthur rules Japan as supreme commander of the occupying forces after the Japanese surrender. Fox will play General Bonner Fellers, an attaché to MacArthur who is tasked with determining Emperor Hirohito’s fate in defeat. The pic, scripted by David Klass (Walking Tall) and Vera Blasi (Tortilla Soup) is on pace to start filming at the end of January. Hit the jump for more on Fox’s character. [Update: We've been sent the full press release, which is now included after the jump.]
As reported by Variety, Emperor is equal parts historical drama and post-war love story. As Fox’s character Fellers must decide whether or not to try the emperor as a war criminal, he also finds himself in a love affair with Aya, a Japanese exchange student from his past. The two stories intertwine as Fellers’ quest to find Aya also results in finding his ability to make a monumentally difficult decision.
Producer Gary Foster had this to say regarding the subject matter:
“The end of WW2 in the far east and the relationship between General MacArthur and Japan, is a part of history which has been largely unexplored on film. With most documents burned, historians have relied on accounts which are being debated to this day.”
He also had this to say about Fox:
“We are thrilled to be working with Matthew Fox who is a fine actor and whose maturity and appeal fits perfectly with our film’s aesthetic.”
While the rest of the cast has yet to be filled, Fox has proven to be a capable male lead in a romantic capacity. As to whether or not he can portray the gravity that such a decision must have carried, we’ll just have to wait and see.
*Note: This Emperor is not to be confused with producer Marc Canton’s similarly-titled project about a young Julius Caesar.
Matthew Fox (World War Z, I, Alex Cross, Lost) will topline EMPEROR (working title) from director Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring) which is based on a screenplay by David Klass (Walking Tall, Desperate Measures, Kiss the Girls) and Vera Blasi (Woman on Top, Tortilla Soup)
EMPEROR will be produced by Yoko Narahashi (The Last Samurai), Gary Foster (Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Sleepless in Seattle, The Soloist), Eugene Nomura (Tajomaru, Surely Some Day) and Russ Krasnoff (The Soloist). EMPEROR is a co-production between Fellers Film and Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment.
Inspired by true events, EMPEROR is an epic story of love and understanding set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. On the staff of General Douglas MacArthur, the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces.
Fox will play the title role of General Bonner Fellers, one of MacArthur’s leading Japanese experts, who is charged with reaching a decision of historical importance: should Emperor Hirohito be tried and hanged as a war criminal?
Interwoven with this nail-biting political thriller is the story of Fellers’ love affair with Aya, a Japanese exchange student he had met years previously in the U.S. Memories of Aya and his quest to find her in the ravaged post-war landscape help Fellers to discover both his wisdom and his humanity and enable him to come to the momentous decision that changed the course of history and the future of two nations.
Producer Gary Foster said: “We are thrilled to be working with Matthew Fox who is a fine actor and whose maturity and appeal fits perfectly with our films aesthetic.”
Fox is represented by Management 360, WME and lawyer Craig Jacobson.
Production is due to begin in January 2012 with lensing to take place in New Zealand and Japan. CAA is handling sales inside the United States and casting is currently underway.
Fellers Film was formed by acclaimed casting director, director and producer Yoko Narahashi and actor / producer Eugene Nomura. Narahashi has been involved with major international films including: The Last Samurai, Babel and Memoirs of a Geisha while Nomura has been involved with Japanese film and television for 25 years.
Producer Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff have been successful Hollywood producers for over 25 years. Gary’s credits include Sleepless in Seattle, Tin Cup, Ghost Rider, Daredevil and The Soloist. With his partner Russ Krasnoff, they executive produce the NBC series Community, now in its 3rd season.