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Japanese actor added to "Mei Lanfang" cast
6/7/2007 10:13

A Japanese actor famous for portraying a trouble-making high school dropout will soon play a Japanese army officer in Chinese film director Chen Kaige's biopic of the late Peking opera master, Mei Lanfang.

Masanobu Ando, best known for his role in Takeshi Kitano's 1996 film "Kids Return," is the latest addition to Chen Kaige's star-heavy cast, the Shanghai Youth Daily reported on Thursday.

The film, slated to begin shooting in Beijing later this month, features top Chinese actors, including Hong Kong actor/singer Leon Lai, who will play Mei Lanfang and Zhang Ziyi as his fellow singer. Gillian Chung and Chen Kaige's actress wife, Chen Hong, share the role of Mei Lanfang's wife.

Masanobu Ando's role is an obsessive fan of Chinese opera, who later becomes a close friend of Mei Lanfang.

The report says Masanobu Ando beat rival Kimura Takuya for the role.

Masanobu Ando, a 32-year-old actor and director, won the best new actor award from the Film Academy of Japan in 1996, for his performance in "Kids Return."