Mirai Moriyama Plays Atom/Astro Boy in Pluto Manga's 1st Stage Play
posted on by Egan Loo
30-year-old actor Mirai Moriyama (pictured bottom center in photograph) will star as Atom in the first stage play adaptation of Naoki Urasawa's popular manga Pluto next year. The production will open at the Tokyo's Bunkamura Theater Cocoon on January 9.
The manga is Urasawa and producer Takashi Nagasaki's seinen drama re-imagining of the world depicted in Osamu Tezuka's manga Astro Boy. It ran in Shogakukan's Big Comic Original magazine from 2003 to 2009, and its eight compiled book volumes have sold over 8.5 million copies. It has been translated and published in 20 countries including France and the United States (by Viz Media). Viz describes the story:
In a distant future where sentient humanoid robots pass for human, someone or something is out to destroy the seven great robots of the world. Europol's top detective Gesicht is assigned to investigate these mysterious robot serial murders - the only catch is that he himself is one of the seven targets.
Moriyama will play Atom, Urasawa's interpretation of Tezuka's character who is better known in English as Astroboy. The actor previously starred in 2011's stage dance performance TeZukA about the creator's life. Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui directed TeZukA before teaming with Moriyama again for Pluto. The new production will incorporate "3D imagery" via projection mapping.
Moriyama, a self-professed fan of the original manga, has been studying abroad in Israel (as a cultural abassador of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs) since last October. He will return in November, and the play will be his first job back at home. He previously played Kakuta in the live-action films of Urasawa's 20th Century Boys manga. He also starred in lead roles in Saint Young Men (as Jesus), Moteki, and Socrates in Love/Crying Out Love in the Center of the World, and he acted in Rookies.
52-year-old Yasufumi Terawaki (Aibō, live-action Boogiepop and Others, pictured bottom right in photograph) will play Gesicht, and 43-year-old Hiromi Nagasaku (live-action Mahō Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto and Angel, bottom left) will have the dual roles of the robot Uran with mysterious powers and Gesicht's wife Helena. 65-year-old Akira Emoto (Yona Yona Penguin, Onmyoji, top center) will play Atom's creator Dr. Tenma, and 51-year-old Yutaka Matushige will play brilliant scientist Abullah (top right). 48-year-old Kazutoyo Yoshimi will play Atom's father figure Dr. Ochanomizu (top left).
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment acquired the film rights from Tezuka Productions for a planned live-action/computer-graphics (CG) hybrid film of Pluto in 2010.