OF A GEISHA, 2005
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA
COMPLETES FILMING IN JAPAN
Director Rob Marshall and Top International
Cast Wrap Eagerly Anticipated Adaptation of Best-Selling Novel
CULVER CITY, CA January 31, 2005 –
Memoirs of a Geisha, a sweeping romantic epic based on the
internationally acclaimed best-seller by Arthur Golden and
directed by Academy Awardâ nominee Rob Marshall (Chicago),
has completed principal photography, with its final scenes
shot in Japan. In addition to locations in Kyoto and Tokyo,
the production filmed in Los Angeles and in Northern California
locations including the Bay Area, Sacramento and El Dorado
County. The film is scheduled to be released in December,
The film’s stellar ensemble cast includes
Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; House of Flying
Daggers) in the title role, opposite Oscar® nominee Ken
Watanabe (The Last Samurai, the upcoming Batman Begins) as
the man she loves. Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern), Michelle
Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Koji Yakusho (Shall
We Dance?), Youki Kudoh (Snow Falling On Cedars) and Kaori
Momoi (Bounce ko gals) also star in leading roles. Young Suzuka
Ohgo portrays Chiyo, the child who becomes the geisha Sayuri.
Produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and
Steven Spielberg, the Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures
and Spyglass Entertainment project was brought to the screen
by an award-winning team of behind-the-scenes artists including
many of Marshall’s key Chicago collaborators. The screen
adaptation was written by Akiva Goldsman and Robin Swicord
and Doug Wright. The executive producers are Roger Birnbaum,
Gary Barber, Patricia Whitcher and Bobby Cohen.
Set in a mysterious and exotic world, which
still casts a potent spell today, the story begins in the
years before WWII when a Japanese child (Ohgo) is torn from
her penniless family to work as a servant in a geisha house.
Despite a treacherous rival who nearly breaks her spirit,
the girl blossoms into the legendary geisha Sayuri (Zhang).
Beautiful and accomplished, Sayuri captivates the most powerful
men of her day, but is haunted by her secret love for the
one man who is out of her reach (Watanabe).
To capture this vividly detailed and beloved
saga on film, Marshall selected Dion Beebe, an Oscar®
nominee for Chicago, as director of photography. Production
designer John Myhre and costume designer Colleen Atwood, both
Oscar® winners for their work on Chicago, also joined
the production. Academy Awardâ winner Pietro Scalia
(Black Hawk Down) is the film’s editor. Multiple Oscar®
winner John Williams (Star Wars, E.T.) is composing the score.
Award-winning choreographer John DeLuca, also from the Chicago
team, is co-producer.
Actress Ziyi Zhang comes to the lead role
of Sayuri with a worldwide reputation. She recently starred
in House of Flying Daggers and the Oscar®-nominated Hero,
both for critically acclaimed director Zhang Yimou. Her performance
in Ang Lee’s Oscar®-nominated Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon brought her the Independent Spirit and Toronto Film
Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actress. She has also been
seen in the American film Rush Hour 2. Her upcoming projects
include Raccoon Palace, the latest film from Seijan Suzuki.
Ken Watanabe, an Academy Awardâ nominee
for his portrayal of the warrior ‘Katsumoto’ in
The Last Samurai and a star of the upcoming Batman Begins,
plays the powerful man who claims Sayuri’s heart. He
currently stars in the film Kita No Zeronen. His many film
and television credits include the popular comedy Tampopo.
Gong Li, the acclaimed international star,
makes her debut in a major American film as Sayuri's cunning
rival. She will next be seen with Ziyi Zhang in Wong Kar-Wai’s
2046. Her earlier films include Ju Dou, Red Sorghum, Raise
the Red Lantern and Shanghai Triad, all for director Zhang
Yimou. In addition, she has starred in The Emperor and the
Assassin, Temptress Moon, Farewell My Concubine and, most
recently, Zhou Yu’s Train.
Michelle Yeoh, who was Ziyi Zhang’s
co-star and sparring partner in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,
joins the cast as the elegant and experienced geisha who guides
Sayuri. Yeoh’s work in Crouching Tiger brought her Best
Actress nominations for the Taipei Golden Horse Award, the
Hong Kong Film Award and the BAFTA Award. Her film credits
include the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
Koji Yakusho, a leading actor in Japan long
before Western audiences discovered him in the original Shall
We Dance?, portrays the man who seeks to become Sayuri's patron.
Yakusho had a memorable scene in Tampopo and has had leading
roles in many films including The Eel, Warm Water Under a
Red Bridge and Bounce ko gals, which also stars Kaori Momoi.
Momoi portrays the mother of the geisha household in Memoirs
of a Geisha.
Youki Kudoh, who won Japan’s Best
Actress Academy Award for the film War and Youth, plays Sayuri’s
childhood friend. Most recently seen in the U.S. in Snow Falling
on Cedars, she also starred in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery
Train, which brought her a Best Actress nomination from the
Independent Spirit Awards. She received the International
Actress of the Year Award from the Japan Film Critics for
Rob Marshall made his debut as a feature
film director with Chicago, which won six Academy Awardsâ
including Best Picture in 2002. The film brought Marshall
an Oscar® nomination for Best Director, as well as the
DGA Award and many other honors that year. A six-time Tony
Award nominee, he also directed and choreographed the television
movie musical “Annie” which brought him an Emmy
Award for Best Choreography plus Emmy and DGA nominations
for Best Director.
Producer Douglas Wick is a Best Picture
Oscar® winner for Gladiator. Producer Steven Spielberg,
nominated for numerous Academy Awardsâ, won the Best
Director Oscar® for Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s
List, as well as Best Picture for Schindler’s List.
Lucy Fisher is the former Vice Chairman of Columbia TriStar