Michael Mann's Tokyo Vice Adds Japanese Stars To Ansel Elgort-Led HBO Max Series

It's been six years since filmmaker Michael Mann last directed a feature film with 2015's "Blackhat," though it somehow feels even longer than that. In the meantime, before that streak is officially broken on the big screen, we've known that Mann will be turning to streaming to direct the first episode of "Tokyo Vice." That HBO Max series is adding to its ensemble cast, with reports indicating several Japanese stars are joining the production that already includes Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe, and more. Check out all the details below.

Tokyo Vice Casting

"Tokyo Vice" is set in Japan and explores the Tokyo criminal underworld, one where the local police are riddled with corruption and compromise. According to Variety, "The series recounts Adelstein's first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat as he embeds himself into the Tokyo vice squad to reveal corruption. The series chronicles Adelstein's daily descent into the sordid underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing and no one is truly what or who they seem" and has added a trio of Japanese stars — Ito Hideaki, Kasamatsu Sho, and Yamashita Tomohisa — in regularly recurring roles.

Ito portrays a character named Miyamoto, described as "a vice detective who is great at his job and knows it." Kasamatsu plays Sato, a member of the Chihara-Kai crime family. Yamashita has been cast as Akira, mysteriously described to be "a professional host who is not as honest as he seems." Other supporting roles have been filled out by a handful of other Japanese actors as well. Sugata Shun has been cast as Ishida, "the leader of the Chihara-kai Yakuza group." Hagiwara Masato will portray Duke, "the manager of the upscale hostess club." Tanida Ayumi is Tozawa, "the leader of the Tozawa-gumi Yakuza group." Finally, Toyohara Kosuke portrays Baku, "a supervisor of the newspaper company where Jake, played by Ansel Elgort, works."

"Tokyo Vice" has been in development since before there was even an HBO Max streaming service to speak of. Based on reporter Jake Adelstein's memoir written in 2009 "Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan" that delved into his experiences working for a local Japanese newspaper, the project quickly attracted the attention of Mann and also Destin Daniel Cretton ("Short Term 12," "Just Mercy," "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"), the latter of whom will also direct several episodes of the series.

Unfortunately, as with Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story," the presence of Ansel Elgort in this project can't help but cast a pall over it. With allegations of sexual misconduct swirling in the time since he first joined as the lead (and with very little in the way of updates since he denied the allegations), it remains to be seen how exactly HBO attempts to address (or not) the elephant in the room.

"Tokyo Vice" will release exclusively on HBO Max sometime in early 2022.