Shogun now has its cast in place. FX on Hulu has revealed that Anna Sawai, Tadanobu Asano, Fumi Nikaido, Tokuma Nishioka, Takehiro Hira, Ako, Shinnosuke Abe, Yasunari Takeshima, Hiroto Kanai, Toshi Toda, Hiro Kanagawa, Nestor Carbonell, Yuki Kura, Tommy Bastow, Moeka Hoshi, Yoriko Doguchi and Yuka Kouri have joined the period drama.
The series is based on the novel of the same name by James Clavell. Director Jonathan van Tulleken will direct the first two episodes and production is now underway in Vancouver. A premiere date has not been announced as yet.
“Shōgun, FX’s limited series period drama based on the best-selling novel by James Clavell, has cast Anna Sawai as “Lady Mariko,” completing the trio of leads that also features Hiroyuki Sanada and Cosmo Jarvis. The ensemble cast will also feature Tadanobu Asano, Fumi Nikaido, Tokuma Nishioka, Takehiro Hira, Ako, Shinnosuke Abe, Yasunari Takeshima, Hiroto Kanai, Toshi Toda, Hiro Kanagawa, Nestor Carbonell, Yuki Kura, Tommy Bastow, Moeka Hoshi, Yoriko Doguchi and Yuka Kouri.
Director Jonathan van Tulleken has come aboard to direct the first two episodes with production now underway in Vancouver.
Shōgun, set in feudal Japan, charts the collision of two ambitious men from different worlds and a mysterious female samurai. John Blackthorne, a risk-taking English pilot major ends up shipwrecked in Japan, a land whose unfamiliar culture will ultimately redefine him. Lord Toranaga, a shrewd, powerful daimyo, is at odds with his own dangerous, political rivals. And Lady Mariko, a woman with invaluable skills but dishonorable family ties, must prove her value and allegiance.
Shōgun is Executive Produced by Justin Marks, Michaela Clavell, Michael de Luca and Ed McDonnell. Marks co-wrote the first two episodes with Co-Executive Producer Rachel Kondo. Shannon Goss, Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich are Co-Executive Producers and Jonathan van Tulleken will serve as Co-Executive Producer on the first two episodes. Sanada serves as a Producer. The 10-episode limited series is produced by FX Productions.
Anna Sawai (F9: The Final Saga, Giri/Haji) is set to star as “Lady Mariko,” revered daughter of an infamous samurai traitor, whom Toranaga enlists to avenge her father’s death.
Hiroyuki Sanada (Bullet Train, John Wick 4, Mortal Kombat, Army of the Dead) will star as “Yoshii Toranaga,” a living legend. A powerful daimyo from a feared lineage, isolated and outnumbered by his enemies in Osaka Castle when the story begins. But little does anyone realize that Toranaga is a brilliant strategist, a master of the long game, and the holder of Japan’s ultimate fate.
Cosmo Jarvis (Calm with Horses, Raised by Wolves, Persuasion) will star as “John Blackthorne,” a restless English pilot major in search of a destiny far from the world he was born into. His mission is to forge a path into the Pacific islands and disrupt Portuguese and Spanish interests in Japan. But Blackthorne finds more than he bargained for when his ship washes ashore within the territory of Toranaga, a deadly warlord who becomes his captor and spiritual mentor.
Hiroyuki Sanada – “Yoshii Toranaga”
Hiroyuki Sanada is an international star, award-winning actor, and is one of Japan’s most distinguished and celebrated actors of his generation. He has starred in over fifty films and earned (the equivalent of) a Japanese Academy Award(R) for his role in The Twilight Samurai. The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. With multiple projects being released this year, Sanada’s star continues to rise. He recently wrapped filming the Sony Pictures’ action feature, Bullet Train, opposite Brad Pitt, and Sandra Bullock. The film is directed by David Leitch and follows five assassins who find themselves on a fast-moving bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka. Sanada is also set to appear in the popular action franchise, John Wick 4. Earlier this year, Sanada appeared in Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated Army of the Dead for Netflix, a film about a group of mercenaries as they plot a heist on a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak where he plays the casino boss, “Bly Tanaka.” He also appeared in the James Wan-produced fantasy-action film, Mortal Kombat for Warner Bros., with Sanada playing the part of ‘Scorpion’, the most iconic role in the franchise. Both films were incredibly successful and have since announced sequels. Sanada will next appear in MGM’s Minamata, opposite Bill Nighy and Johnny Depp, and directed by Andrew Levitas. The film follows the historic photographer, Eugene Smith, who documented the effects of mercury poisoning on the citizens of Minamata, Kumamoto, Japan. Sanada’s first major Hollywood appearance was in The Last Samurai opposite Tom Cruise, later appearing in such blockbuster films as The Wolverine, 47 Ronin and Avengers Endgame. Sanada’s career is just as impressive on the small screen, having appeared in dozens of shows including the critically acclaimed series, Lost, for their 6th and final season, and Westworld season 2. He is also an established stage actor, working in both Japanese and British plays and theatre. His role as “The Fool” in Shakespeare’s King Lear gave him notable theatrical praise and awarded him an honorary MBE for being the first Japanese actor to perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RBC). Sanada’s career in film, television and theater has spanned more than 50 years and he has garnered the attention of both American and foreign audiences alike. His unique ability to embody the roles he takes on has made him one of Hollywood’s most respected and sought-after Asian-American actors working today. Sanada is represented by CAA and Lighthouse Entertainment and Sheppard.
Cosmo Jarvis – “John Blackthorne”
A previous Screen International “One To Watch,” Cosmo Jarvis was a “Most Promising Newcomer” nominee at the BIFAs for his magnetic portrayal of “Sebastian” in Lady Macbeth. The movie earned five star reviews from a huge number of critics, and was described as “a brilliantly chilling subversion of a classic” (Peter Bradshaw). Jarvis starred alongside Florence Pugh and Naomi Ackie. It has recently been announced that Jarvis will star in a leading role as “Captain Wentworth” in the new Netflix adaptation of Persuasion opposite Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding. Last year, Jarvis took the lead Calm with Horses, directed by Nick Rowland and also starring Barry Keoghan and Niamh Algar which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Garnering multiple nominations, including a BAFTA nomination for “Outstanding British Film,” Jarvis’ performance has been critically acclaimed and earned him a BIFA & London Critics Circle Nomination for Best Actor; “[He] looks eerily like a young Marlon Brando in this brutal gothic-realist drama. Jarvis is a fierce screen presence.” (The Guardian) “[Jarvis] offers up a masterclass as a bruised, damaged soul, a man torn” (Total Film). Calm with Horses was produced by Michael Fassbender’s company DMC and released in March 2020. Earlier this year, Jarvis stared with Stacy Martin in The Evening Hour, which premiered at Sundance. Set in a small mining town in West Virginia, the story follows a small-time drug dealer who is driven to action to prevent his family from being driven apart. Jarvis also stars in Funny Face which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and released this year. Jarvis has recently finished filming Antonia Campbell-Hughes’ feature directorial debut, It Is In Us All. Jarvis takes on the lead role of “Hamish,” a successful media professional who suffers a near-fatal car crash. He also starred in Nocturnal which had its premiere at the London Film Festival and also featured in Ridley Scott’s new sci-fi series Raised by Wolves for Sky Atlantic/HBO Max. It is in 2012 that Jarvis made his first appearance in cinema with The Naughty Room, a movie that he also wrote, directed and edited. Critically acclaimed, it was this film that caught the attention of the industry and Screen International. Other notable credits include The Habit of Beauty, My Mother and the Other Strangers, Martin in Humans, Vera, Alex Garland’s Feature Annihilation lead by Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac, Jo Woodcock Thomas Lawes’ Indie Feature Monochrome; the coming-of-age feature Farming directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. The movie tells the story of a young British-Nigerian, who became the leader of a skinhead gang in the 1980s. It stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Kate Beckinsale and Damson Idris. He also held an important role in the latest series of Peaky Blinders on BBC1. In theater, he gave a standout performance at the Almeida Theatre in the adaptation of the cult classic 1960’s CBS Television Series The Twilight Zone, directed by Richard Jones. Jarvis is represented by UTA (US); The Artists Partnership (UK) and Morris Yorn.
Anna Sawai – “Lady Mariko”
Anna Sawai is a rising star who was most recently seen in F9: The Fast Saga alongside Vin Diesel and Charlize Theron. Next, Sawai stars in Apple TV+’s highly anticipated show Pachinko, which chronicles four generations of a Korean immigrant family. Sawai made her feature film acting debut at age 15 in James McTeigue’s Ninja Assassin for Warner Bros. More recently, she starred as “Eiko” in the Netflix/BBC series Giri/Haji; created and written by BAFTA nominee Joe Barton and directed by BAFTA-winner and Emmy(R) nominee Julian Farino. Born in New Zealand and raised in Tokyo, she is fluent in both English and Japanese as well as being a skilled dancer, singer and martial Arts enthusiast. Sawai is represented by United Agents, WME, Zero Gravity, and Felker, Toczek, Suddleson, Abramson LLP.
Tadanobu Asano – “Kashigi Yabushige”
Tadanobu Asano is a Japanese actor and musician. He started his career as an actor at the age of 16 and he became one of the most popular actor in Japan. Asano is known for his roles as “Dragon Eye Morrison” in Electric Dragon 80.000 V, “Kakihara” in Ichi the Killer, “Hattori Genosuke” in Zatoichi, “Kenji” in Last Life in the Universe, “Captain Yugi Nagata” in Battleship, “Lord Kira” in the 47 Ronin. In 2007 he starred as the Genghis Khan in Sergei Bodrov’s Oscar-nominated film Mongol. After that in 2011, he starred in the Marvel Studios film Thor as the Asgardian warrior “Hogun,” a member of the Warriors Three and companion to Thor. Asano reprised the role in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World and 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. In 2016, he appeared as the Interpreter in Martin Scorsese’s Silence. Asano received the Upstream Prize for Best Actor at the 2003 Venice Film Festival for his role in Last Life in the Universe. In 2014 he won the award for Best Actor at the 36th Moscow International Film Festival for his role in My Man. In 10th Asian Film Award he won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Journey to the Shore and in 11th Asian Film Award Asano won the award for Best Actor for his role in Harmonium. Asano is represented by Aaron Greene at Slush, Garrett Gutierrez at Slush, Josh Rahm at ICM.
Fumi Nikaido – “Ochiba No Kata”
Fumi Nikaido is a Japanese actress, photographer and writer. Nikaido made her screen debut in Toad’s Oil (2009). She won Marcello Mastroianni Award at Venice Film Festival for a co-starring role in Themis. Nikaido’s other credits include Rivers Edge and Yell. Nikaido is represented by Atsuko Koibuchi and Sony Music Artist.
Tokuma Nishioka – “Toda Hiromatsu”
Tokuma Nishioka is a Japanese actor and singer. In 1970, Nishioka joined the prestigious Bungakuza Theater Group where he played many lead roles until he left in 1979. Nishioka rose to fame for his appearance in Tokyo Love Story, which was a hugely popular TV series across East Asia in 1991. He has been prolific for decades, across genre in TV, films and theaters. Other credits include Sanjuro and Sekigahara. Tokuma is represented by Takabumi Uno and enchante, Inc.
Takehiro Hira – “Ishido Kazunari”
Takehiro Hira was nominated for a BAFTA award for his work in the Netflix/BBC series Girl/Haji, in which he stars as “Kenzo Mori” opposite Kelly Macdonald. He can most recently be seen in Paramount Picture’s G.I. Joe spinoff Snake Eyes directed by Robert Schwentke, in which he plays the villainous “Kenta” opposite Henry Golding. Hira can also be seen William Olsson’s independent feature Lost Girls and Love Hotels, in which he stars opposite Alexandra Daddario. He most recently wrapped production on the limited series The Swarm. In addition to his growing presence in the U.S., Hira also has a prolific career in his native Japan. He has appeared in several of Takashi Miike’s, including Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, Ace Attorney and Aku No Kyoten. He’s also known for starring as “Natsuka Masaie” in the Japanese blockbuster film The Floating Castle. Hira made his stage debut in 2002 with Rokumeikan which was written by Yukio Mishima. Hira also played the role of “Iago” in the Japanese production of Othello, costarring opposite his father, Mikijirō Hira, playing the title role. Hira is represented by Sarah Kelly and Chris Horsman, ICM Partners.
Ako – “Daiyoin ‘Lady Iyo'”
Born in Japan and raised in Tokyo, Ako is a former member of the world-famous Takarazuka Revue Company. Following a successful stage and television career in Japan, Ako moved to New York. She has appeared in films including Snow Falling on Cedars directed by Scott Hicks, a BBC-film called Prisoners in Time with John Hurt, I Origin, Too Tired to Die, Shadow Play, Daitoryo No Christmas Tree, No Reservations and Twelve, directed by Joel Schumacher. Television work includes 30 Rock and Mercy. New York Off Broadway productions include God Said This (Lucile Lortel Award – leading actress nomination), Kentucky, Suicide Forrest, Sayonara, Moscowx6, Song of Song of Songs, Tamar of the River, Tea with the Haiku Geisha, Two Cities, Tea House of the August Moon, A Majority of One, Shogun Macbeth, Gashrum Kotwal, and Velina Hasu Houston’s plays Tea and Kokoro. Ako was an Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company member in the 2010-2012 seasons; she played “Lady Asaji” (Lady Macbeth) in Throne of Blood, which transferred to BAM as a part of the Next Wave Festival, Julius Caesar, Love Labours Lost, White Snake and The Seagull. Ako is the founding Artistic Director of the English-Japanese bi-lingual theater Amaterasu Za in Tribeca, NYC where she produced, directed, and acted in Courier of Love, Hanjo, Aoi No Ue, Macbeth and Oedipus Rex. www.amaterasuza.org. Ako is represented by Wolf Talent Group.
Shinnosuke Abe – “Toda Hiroshige ‘Buntaro'”
Shinnosuke Abe is a Japanese actor who made his screen debut in Lovers Kiss (2003) and has been acting in both TV and films ever since. In recent years, he appeared in successful action films such as Rurouni Kenshin: The Final (2021) and Kingdom (2019). He plays a lead role in Day and Night (2019), a film he also co-produced. Abe is represented by Rena Takiguchi and Stardust Promotion, Inc.
Yasunari Takeshima – “Muraji”
Yasunari Takeshima is a Kyoto native Japanese film and television actor. His fascination with acting began while he was a lead in a rock band. Though he primarily began as a director and writer for a theatrical troupe in Tokyo, his acting career gained momentum. Bilingual in English and Japanese, Takeshima established himself as an international actor. His notable works include Martin Scorcese’s Silence (2016) and The Last Recipe: Memory of Giraffe’s Tongue (2017) directed by Yōjirō Takita. Apart from acting, Takeshima continues to work as a script doctor. He is a talented singer and is skilled in traditional Japanese martial arts, playing the Shamisen and navigating traditional Japanese boats. Takeshima is represented by Hiroko Kitano, Polarstar Co., Ltd.
Hiroto Kanai – “Kashigi Omi”
Hiroto Kanai’s credits include The Blood of Wolves – Level Two and She is Alone.
Toshi Toda – “Sugiyama”
Toshi Toda was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He began his acting career through Gekidan Shiki Acting Company in Japan before moving to New York in 1974. His plan was to stay in New York for a year to study Ballet and other forms of dance and return to Tokyo, however, instead found his free spirit in New York and has now been living in the USA for over 47 years. He appeared in many off and off-off Broadway plays. He has also appeared in the play Sly Fox national tour company directed by Arthur Penn with Jackie Gleason and Cleavon Little. After appearing in the Tony Award winning Broadway Musical Anything Goes with Patti LuPone, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career in film and television. Hollywood has been very kind to him. He has not only played Japanese characters, but also Korean, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, among other nationalities. He has also appeared in television shows such as Seinfeld, Touched by an Angel, Arrested Development, Flashforward and films such as Letters From Iwo Jima, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, Just Married and others. He has two sons and is still married to his beautiful wife of 37 years. Toda is represented by The Levin Agency and Sheer Talent Management LLC.
Hiro Kanagawa – “Igarashi”
Hiro Kanagawa was born in Sapporo, Japan. He attended high school in Tokyo but has spent the bulk of his life in Canada and the U.S. Currently based in Vancouver, BC, he is a veteran of over 200 film, television and animation credits. Recent highlights include “Captain Tanaka” on Altered Carbon and “Dr. Paul Nakano” on The Good Doctor. Also a writer, he won the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Drama for his play, Indian Arm. Kanagawa is represented by Carrier Talent Management (Vancouver) and Luber Roklin Entertainment (Los Angeles).
Nestor Carbonell – “Rodrigues”
Carbonell is currently a series regular on Apple’s Morning Show. Prior, he starred as Sheriff Alex Romero’ opposite Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore in the hit A&E series Bates Motel. Carbonell is most often recognized for his integral role in the acclaimed series Lost as the iconic “Richard Alpert.” Additional television credits include Midnight Texas, Person of Interest, Ringer, Cane, House, Scrubs, and Monk. Carbonell’s recent feature credits include Matt Ruskin’s Crown Heights, which premiered at Sundance and received the Dramatic Audience Award, Imperium opposite Daniel Radcliffe and Toni Collette, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises opposite Christian Bale, Smokin’ Aces opposite Ray Liotta and Ryan Reynolds, Andy Garcia’s The Lost City, The Laramie Project, and the title role in Jack the Dog. Carbonell has also directed multiple episodes of television, including Bates Motel, The Good Doctor and Rise. Carbonell was born in New York City and raised in numerous locales including Mexico, Venezuela, Florida, Connecticut, the Bahamas and London. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English. Carbonell is represented by APA, thruline and Felker, Toczek, Suddleson Abramson LLP.
Yuki Kura – “Yoshii Nagakado”
Yuki Kura’s credits include Spaghetti Code Love and Suicide Forest Village.
Tommy Bastow – “Father Martin Alvito”
English actor Tommy Bastow started his career in the 2008 hit British movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging opposite Aaron Johnson. He broke in the U.S. being cast in the high-concept sci-fi series The Crossing for ABC. Bastow can next be seen in the upcoming international series co-production from Fuji TV and ZDF Enterprises, The Window, which is set in the multi-billion-dollar business of international professional football. He will also appear in the next installment of the Sony feature film franchise Never Back Down: Revolt directed by Kellie Madison. Bastow is represented by United Agents, Manager Christina Gualazzi, and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.
Moeka Hoshi – “Usami Fuji”
Moeka Hoshi’s credits include The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8 and What Is Love?
Yoriko Doguchi – “Kiri no Kata”
Yoriko Doguchi’s credits include Silence, Cure and Devilman.
Yuka Kouri – “Kiku”
Yuka Kouri’s credits include Invasion and Tokyo Vice.
Jonathan van Tulleken
Jonathan van Tulleken most recently directed the pilot and executive produced the series Reprisal for Hulu and Warren Littlefield. Prior to that, he directed episodes of Trust for FX and Upload for Amazon and Greg Daniels. In 2014 he directed the entire second season of Channel 4’s BAFTA winning drama Top Boy. Van Tulleken has been nominated for two BAFTAs. He is represented by WME, Grandview and Independent.
Shōgun, the novel, was published in 1975 and became a major best-seller with more than 30 million copies sold worldwide. Building on the earlier success of Roots, Shōgun helped establish the miniseries as an ambitious new TV genre. Sparking great Western interest in Japanese culture, the 1980 miniseries won Emmy(R) Awards, Golden Globe(R) Awards and a Peabody(R) Award.
What do you think? Are you planning to check out Shogun when it eventually premieres?