Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Kauai actor joins
‘Geisha’ movie cast

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa will play
The Baron in the Spielberg film

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who co-stars on the NBC police drama "Hawaii," has been cast as The Baron in the Steven Spielberg/Dreamworks-produced film "Memoirs of a Geisha."

Movie seeking mini-geisha

Asian girls age 9 to 11 are invited to audition for the role of young Sayuri, the lead character in the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha."

An open casting call is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Anna Fishburn Casting, 1121 Nuuanu Ave., Suite 200, above Indigo Restaurant downtown. Girls who have kimonos are asked to wear them.

The agency requests no phone calls.

"I am blown away," Tagawa said yesterday from the "Hawaii" set. "I'm just kind of floating right now."

"Memoirs of a Geisha" begins filming in Los Angeles and Japan next month.

Tagawa, who lives on Kauai, described The Baron as "a strong character part." He will travel to Japan to shoot three scenes, he said, adding that the filming will not disrupt his "Hawaii" role as Capt. Terry Harada.

The movie, which will be directed by Oscar-winner Rob Marshall, is based on the best-selling 1997 novel of the same name by Arthur Golden. It tells the story of Nitta Sayuri, who is sold to a geisha house at age 9. It follows her training and life as a geisha. Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots to become one of Japan's most-celebrated geisha.

The film also features Ken Watanabe as the Chairman; Zhang Ziyi as grown-up Sayuri; and Michelle Yeoh as Sayuri's mentor, Mameha. Watanabe was nominated for an Academy Award for his part in "The Last Samurai." Zhang and Yeoh played enemies in Ang Lee's martial arts epic "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

The project is being jointly funded by Spielberg's DreamWorks studio with Columbia Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment.



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