Michael Mann will be directing the pilot episode of Tokyo Vice, the crime drama series set to premiere on HBO’s forthcoming streaming platform HBO Max. In addition to serving as executive producer, Mann will also potentially direct further episodes of the show starring Ken Watanabe and Ansel Elgort, which is set to begin filming in February of 2020.
Tokyo Vice seems like familiar territory for Mann. He executive produced Miami Vice, a detective show that now serves as a visual shorthand for the 1980s, and directed several gritty crime thrillers like Manhunter, Heat, Collateral, and Public Enemies. His other films include the Oscar-nominated whistleblower drama The Insider, and the critically acclaimed historical epic The Last of the Mohicans.
Mann hasn’t directed since 2015’s Blackhat, a cybersecurity thriller starring Chris Hemsworth that has since been entirely forgotten by history. And his most recent television work was on the short-lived HBO series Luck, which was cancelled in the middle of production on the second season due to animal safety concerns raised after two horses were injured and subsequently euthanized during filming. It’ll be interesting to see him return to both the director’s chair and to television. Hopefully this means we’ll get another film out of him sometime in the near future. (Most recently, he executive produced the Matt Damon and Christian Bale film Ford v Ferrari, directed by James Mangold.)
Tokyo Vice is based on the nonfiction memoirs of Jake Adelstein, a journalist who embedded himself with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police to sniff out corruption. Elgort is set to play Adelstein in the series, which was adapted from Adelstein’s book by Tony Award-winning playwright J. T. Rogers, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Mann. Watanabe is playing an unspecified role, although we can safely assume he’ll be playing a Tokyo detective who absolutely does not have time for any of Elgort’s bullshit.