The concept of Brother, which will be Takeshi Kitano´s ninth directorial film, was already conceived five years ago when Kitano was working on the production of Getting Any? (Kitano´s fifth film, released in 1995), before that terrible motorcycle accident in '94. After the accident it was essential for Kitano to recuperate from the damages of the accident before he and Kitano-Gumi could take on the difficult task to realize in perfection the shooting of the film overseas. The plan was withheld and Kids Return, which Kitano himself calls "the rehabilitation film," was made as his sixth film. Kids Return made its world premiere at the Directors´ Fortnight at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1996, and was released in different countries receiving further international acclaim. Among the ardent supporters was celebrated British producer, Jeremy Thomas.
After a fifteen-year interval since working together on Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Thomas reunited with Kitano, when Kids Return was screened at the London International Film Festival. At a dinner held by the festival, Kitano personally told Thomas that he had a film project called Brother, which he intended to shoot in Los Angeles. Thomas was greatly impressed by this project and instantly voiced his total support. Unfortunately, Kitano had to return to Japan to shoot his seventh film, HANA-BI, and the Brother project had to wait further to take off.
A year later, after winning the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival for HANA-BI, Kitano again visited London where Thomas received him with open arms. Along with Masayuki Mori, the producer for the Kitano side, the three confirmed to begin the project Brother as Kitano´s ninth film. Mori promised to undertake the preparation of Brother along with the production of Kitano´s eighth film, Kikujiro. To the terms laid out from the Kitano side, such as assuring the final cut to Kitano and using Kitano´s crew for the shooting, Thomas declared: "As long as what we´re trying to make is a film, anything is possible for us. We just do our best." This marked the birth of a co-production project between Japan and the United Kingdom. November, 1997 was the moment this took place.
Since then, Mori, the producer on the Japan side, and Thomas, the producer on the British side, repeatedly held meetings in both Tokyo and London to consolidate a concrete environment for the production. In 1999, at the Cannes International Film Festival where KIKUJIRO was entered in Competition, they reached a stage in which they announced the production of BROTHER to the world.
Undergoing repeated meetings on the screenplay, Kitano and his crew set out to Los Angeles, the main setting for BROTHER, between the month of August to the middle of September. They spent time on location scouting as well as auditioning some 200 actors for the Los Angeles casting. Joined by the American crew, they had fruitful meetings on production, direction and technical aspects.
Principal photography of "BROTHER" begins in Tokyo from the end of November 1999.
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