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Friday, April 2, 2004

Mori to fight monster in screen debut, but will he get lines?

Staff writer

Gaffe-prone former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who was forced in April 2001 to bow out as his star fell among the public, hopes it rises as he takes to the silver screen to take on a monster.

Mori will make his big-screen debut in "A-140F6 Shinkaiju Zerogo Sakusen" ("Deep Sea Monster Operation No. 0"), which opens at Tokyo movie theaters in May 2005, the director of the movie told The Japan Times on Thursday.

Mori will play a Japanese Navy admiral commanding a fleet that fights a sea monster off the Truk Islands in the Pacific during World War II, said director Shinpei Hayashiya, who is also a "rakugo" comic storyteller.

"He was very interested, asking, 'Do I have lines to say?' " explained Hayashiya, who was introduced to Mori by House of Representatives member Hiroshi Hase, a longtime friend of Hayashiya's.

Mori told The Japan Times Thursday he would like to accept the role, but will carefully read the script before making a final decision.

According to Hase, Mori has already taken part -- enthusiastically -- in an ad for the movie.

"He was in very good spirits," said Hase, who played the role of a subordinate officer to the admiral.

Mori, who became prime minister in April 2000, was forced to resign after a spate of verbal and other gaffes.

Hayashiya said he asked Mori to play the admiral after learning that his father, Shigeki, was stationed at the island as an Imperial Japanese Army officer during the war.

He maintained a very good relationship with local residents, which prompted many islanders to adopt "Mori" as their surname to show their respect for Mori's father, Hayashiya said.

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The Japan Times

Article 6 of 14 in National news

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