Asia, Christopher Doyle, International, Morte Cucina, Movie News, Movies, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Shogun, Tadanobu Asano

‘Shogun’ Star Tadanobu Asano Joins Thai Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Culinary Thriller ‘Morte Cucina’ (Exclusive)

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The ever-busy Japanese character actor Tadanobu Asano — currently having a moment as one of the stars of Disney’s hit samurai series Shōgun — has joined the cast of Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang‘s upcoming culinary thriller Morte Cucina. The actor and director last collaborated two decades ago on the romantic crime film Last Life in the Universe (2003), which was Thailand’s official submission to the Oscars that year and won Asano the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival. 

Set in contemporary Bangkok, Morte Cucina follows a talented young female chef named Sao who has a chance encounter with a man who sexually abused her when she was a teen. “Using her talents in the kitchen, Sao sets her plan of revenge in motion — achieving a rather unexpected result,” the film’s logline reads. 

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The project’s producers are keeping the nature of Asano’s role under wraps for now, but they have revealed that newcomer Thanatphon Boonsang will play the central role of Sao, while Thai stars Nopachai Chaiyanam and Kris Srepoomseth will take two of the male leads. Nopachai previously starred in Pen-ek’s 2011 crime thriller Headshot, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Morte Cucina is co-written by Pen-ek and Kongdej Jaturanrasamee (HungerFaces of Anne). It’s Pen-ek’s first feature since his noir crime thriller Samui Song in 2017. Veteran, Asia-based cinematographer Christopher Doyle, best known for his collaborations with Wong Kar-wai, will lens the film.

Morte Cucina will be produced by Soros Sukhum of 185 Films (which recently produced Netflix’s Thai thriller Hunger) and Asia-based producer Conor Zorn, with Manuel Chiche from Joker Films and Alexandra Hoesdorff of Deal Productions co-producing. Goodfellas (formerly Wild Bunch) is handling international sales, aside from North America, which CAA is representing. 

The film is expected to go into production in April, with the filmmakers targeting a premiere at a major European festival next year.

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