Tadanobu Asano — Maverick Award


If we were to play word association with the term “Japanese cool” in the last twenty years, Tadanobu Asano would be it. One of the most daring, punk rock and iconic Japanese character actors, Asano burst onto the scene with his work in SHARKSKIN MAN AND PEACH HIP GIRL (1998) by director (and HIFF favorite) Katsuhito Ishii. He would soon pursue a career track that would include iconic character benchmarks ranging from electric guitar warrior Dragon Eye Morrison in Sogo Ishii’s ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000V (2001) to the bleached haired psychopath with the Joker scarred smile in Takashi Miike’s ICHI THE KILLER (2001).

He has worked with internationally renowned directors from Japan and abroad, including Kiyoshi Kurosawa for BRIGHT FUTURE (2002), Takeshi Kitano’s ZATOICHI (2003), Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s CAFE LUMIERE (2003) and Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang for both LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (2002) and INVISIBLE WAVES (2006). But it was his relationship with director Katsuhito Ishii that brought him to festival audience attention with HIFF 2004 Golden Maile winner THE TASTE OF TEA and the surreal FUNKY FOREST (2005).

Asano crossed over to the West in Sergei Bodrov’s MONGOL: THE RISE OF GENGHIS KHAN (2007) and into the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” as the god Hogun in THOR (2011) and THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013). He also played Captain Yugi Takata in Peter Berg’s BATTLESHIP (2012), where he spent several months in Hawaii in production. He also recently completed a co-starring role in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming SILENCE, starring Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver.

Asano once again collaborates with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa in the ghostly romance JOURNEY TO THE SHORE, which held its’ world premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and is screening as part of HIFF’s 2015 program.