Memoirs of a Geisha ClapboardMEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, 2005


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, 2005.

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 Picture Bride.

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 Motion Pictures.

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