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Wowow joins HBO Max’s Tokyo Vice

Japanese pay TV broadcaster Wowow has boarded forthcoming HBO Max original series Tokyo Vice as a coproduction partner alongside the streamer and Endeavor Content.

Ansel Elgort (photo: Eva Rinaldi via CC)

HBO Max owner WarnerMedia placed a straight-to-series order for the 10-part drama, featuring Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort and executive produced by Michael Mann, last year.

The series is loosely inspired by US journalist Jake Adelstein’s 2009 memoir Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.

Adelstein was the first foreigner to work the crime beat for the paper and spent 12 years there. John Lesher optioned the book eight years ago and has spearheaded development and production.

The show began filming in Tokyo at the beginning of the year but went on a production hiatus because of the pandemic. It resumes production this week.

Four-time Oscar nominee and two-time Emmy winner Mann is directing the first episode of the show and serves as exec producer alongside Lesher, Adelstein, Elgort and Tony-winning playwright JT Rogers, who created and wrote the series.

Emily Gerson Saines, Alan Poul, Destin Daniel Cretton, Ken Watanabe, Brad Caleb Kane and Kayo Washio also exec produce.

Endeavor Content is handling global distribution of Tokyo Vice, which will be available on HBO Max in the US and Wowow in Japan, both exclusively. Wowow’s deal was struck between Endeavor Content and Wowow’s LA office head Kayo Washio.

Washio said: “Tokyo Vice is a true passion project for me, as I’ve had my eyes on the material for quite some time and trusted business relationships with some of the key players involved for an even longer period of time. It is the type of story that deserves and necessitates the pedigree of creative talent assembled to bring it to life.

Prentiss Fraser, executive VP of international TV sales at Endeavor Content, added: “Ensuring authenticity and being true to Japanese culture and society were top priorities for our team. To have a local partnership to ensure this vision is truly valuable and we look forward to creating many seasons together.”

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