Hana & Alice's Shunji Iwai Directs Last Letter Starring Takako Matsu, Hideaki Anno

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Suzu Hirose, Ryunosuke Kamiki, more also star in 2019 romance film about 2 generations

Director Shunji Iwai (The Case of Hana & Alice, Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? original creator) revealed on Friday that he is working on a new film titled Last Letter that stars Takako Matsu, Evangelion director Hideaki Anno, Suzu Hirose, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Masaharu Fukuyama, and Nana Mori. The film will open in 2019.

The film is a romance story centering on two generations of characters, with the story beginning with a misdelivered letter. The film will tackle similar themes about communication as Iwai's 1995 feature film debut Love Letter.

Takako Matsu plays Yuri Kishibe, who goes to her late sister Misaki Tōno's class reunion to inform former schoolmates of her sister's passing. There, she meets her first love, the novelist Kyōshirō Otosaka, and is mistaken by him for her sister. The two begin writing letters to each other. Fukuyama plays Otosaka as an adult, while Kamiki plays the character during his high school years.

The role is Matsu's first role in an Iwai film since she debuted in film acting in 1998 in Iwai's April Story. Matsu also played a character in the Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom? anime film, based on the episode of the 1993 If: Moshimo series that Iwai directed.

Anno plays Sōjirō, Yuri's husband, and a manga creator. Iwai himself also starred in Anno's 2000 live-action film Shiki-Jitsu.

Hirose plays a double role as Misaki during her high school years, and Misaki's daughter Ayumi Tōno. Hirose previously played the lead role in Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?. Up-and-coming actress Nana Mori also plays a double role as both Yuri during her high school years, and Yuri's daughter Soyoka.

Other cast members include Keiko Mizukoshi as Yuri's mother-in-law and Hitoshi Komuro as a teacher.

The story is set in Iwai's home prefecture of Miyagi during the summer. Filming began in July, with filming on location in Miyagi's capital Sendai, as well as in Tokyo, ongoing this month.

Iwai wrote, directed, and composed the music for The Case of Hana & Alice, his first-feature length anime film and prequel to his earlier live-action film Hana & Alice. The film debuted in February 2015. Last year, anime studio Shaft adapted Iwai's episode of the If: Moshimo live-action series into the Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom? anime film.

Sources: Eiga Natalie, Cinema Today via Hachima Kikō

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