Netflix Adds Sion Sono, Ridley Scott and ‘Grudge’ Films to Japan Originals Slate

Netflix unveiled its lineup of original programming from Japan. It includes major local and international names.

Among the most highly anticipated entries is “Ai-naki Mori de Sakebe” (literal translation: Shout in the Loveless Forest), a three-part series inspired by a real multiple murder case set to stream this summer. The director is international cult favorite Sion Sono who suffered a heart attack and underwent an operation in February. “It was all my fault,” Sono told media at an event in Tokyo on Tuesday. “I was really busy with editing. I feel I should pay Netflix compensation.”

Scheduled to begin streaming on Aug. 8 to 190 countries and territories is “The Naked Director,” a series based on the career of real-life porn director Toru Muranishi. Playing Muranishi, who pioneered the adult video genre in the 1980s, is Takayuki Yamada, a favorite of Takashi Miike and the star of the popular “Uchijima the Loan Shark” series.  “I may be denied entrance to some countries because of this (series),” Yamada joked.

Also likely to grab attention internationally is an original drama based the hit J-Horror franchise “The Grudge” that will stream starting in the spring of 2020. The director is Sho Miyake whose 2018 love triangle drama “And Your Bird Can Sing” screened at Berlin, Locarno and elsewhere on the festival circuit.

Also set for a 2020 release on Netflix is Wash Westmoreland’s “The Earthquake Bird.” Based on a novel by Susanna Jones, the film stars Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, and Naoki Kobayashi in a thriller about a young woman living in Japan who becomes a murder suspect after her friend disappears. Shot entirely on location in Japan with Ridley Scott executive producing, the film is now in post-production.

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