Tokyo Vice Michael Mann

Micahel Mann is about to add another Vice to his name. The Miami Vice filmmaker will direct the pilot episode of Tokyo Vice, a new HBO Max series starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe. The show is based on the non-fiction book by Jake Adelstein, the only American journalist ever admitted to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Press Club.

News about Tokyo Vice broke over the summer, back before HBO Max officially had a name. At the time we knew it was based on the book by Jake Adelstein, and that Ansel Elgort was set to star. Now we know more. For one thing, Ken Watanabe is also part of the cast. And perhaps most exciting of all: Deadline says Michael Mann is going to direct the pilot. Mann will also serve as executive producer and might even direct more episodes of Tokyo Vice‘s first season.

The show adapts Jake Adelstein’s “non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat. The drama captures Adelstein’s daily descent into the neon-soaked underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing, and no one is truly what or who they seem.” Here’s a more detailed synopsis from the book jacket:

Jake Adelstein is the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police Press Club, where for twelve years he covered the dark side of Japan: extortion, murder, human trafficking, fiscal corruption, and of course, the yakuza. But when his final scoop exposed a scandal that reverberated all the way from the neon soaked streets of Tokyo to the polished Halls of the FBI and resulted in a death threat for him and his family, Adelstein decided to step down. Then, he fought back. In Tokyo Vice he delivers an unprecedented look at Japanese culture and searing memoir about his rise from cub reporter to seasoned journalist with a price on his head.

I’m not exactly the biggest Ansel Elgort fan (he’s fine, I guess!), but the idea of Mann directing a story about the “neon-soaked underbelly of Tokyo” is too exciting to pass up. While I was decidedly mixed on Mann’s two most recent movies – Public Enemies and Blackhat – he remains a magnificent filmmaker, responsible for several fantastic films: CollateralHeatThiefThe Insider, and many more. I’m always up for something new from him. This is certainly a big score for HBO Max – Mann’s name will get people interested.

Production on Tokyo Vice is set to begin in February. HBO Max launches sometime in 2020.

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