Principal photography has begun on Andrew Levitas-directed feature Minamata starring Johnny Depp as celebrated U.S. photographer W. Eugene Smith. The production has released a first look at Depp.
Bill Nighy (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) has joined cast alongside Minami (Vision), Hiroyuki Sanada (Avengers: Endgame), Tadanobu Asano (Silence), Ryo Kase (Letters From Iwo Jima), and Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill: Vol 1 and 2). Yôko Narahashi is casting director on the film which is currently underway in locations in Japan, Serbia, and Montenegro.
Based on the book by Aileen Mioko Smith and W. Eugene Smith and adapted by David K. Kessler (A Hard Day’s Day), the true-story thriller pits Smith against a powerful corporation responsible for poisoning the people in Minamata, Japan in 1971.
Developed by Depp’s production entity Infinitum Nihil, Depp is producing with Infinitum Nihil’s Sam Sarkar, Levitas under his Metalwork Pictures banner and Gabrielle Tana (The White Crow). Lullaby director Levitas recently produced The White Crow and Farming.
Jason Forman, Stephen Deuters, Peter Watson, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Gabrielle Stewart, Stephen Spence, Peter Touche, Norman Merry and Peter Hampden are executive producers. HanWay Films is handling international sales. CAA Media Finance handles U.S. rights.
Levitas said of the film, “I am thrilled to be working with such a talented and dedicated team on the story behind one of the most devastating and relatively unknown catastrophes of the past 100 years. Told through the eyes of the extraordinary W. Eugene Smith, widely regarded as one of the most passionate, ground breaking and uncompromising photojournalists of the 20th century. In his bid to bring the world’s attention to atrocities including the bloodiest conflict in human history, World War II and the horrors of Minamata he put his own life at risk to bring the truth out in his work and capture some of the most poignant images ever taken. Every one of the cast and crew is determined to make the people of Minamata’s voices heard as we begin shooting this film.”
Depp and Levitas are represented by CAA along with Sanada who is also represented by Lighthouse Entertainment. Nighy is represented by CAA and Markham Froggatt Irwin.