In spite of his fame and recent success in Hollywood, actor Watanabe Ken (45) has never had the starring role in a movie. That’s finally about to change. He’s been chosen as the lead in the movie adaptation of the book “Ashita no Kioku” (Memories of Tomorrow), in which he will play a man stricken with early-onset Alzheimer Disease who battles the disease with the support of his wife, to be played by Higuchi Kanako (46). The project is being directed by , who was the man behind such recent TV drama hits as “Trick” and “Sekai no Chushin de, Ai wo Sakebu.” Filming is set to begin on June 20, and the movie is scheduled for release next year. Watanabe was to play the lead in Kadokawa Haruki’s “Ten to Chi to” (Heaven and Earth, 1990) but while on location in Canada, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He overcame the disease with the support of his wife Yumiko (45), whom he recently divorced.
• Actress Ayase Haruka (20) continues her role as the image character for Pocari Sweat. The young actress, who made her breakthrough in the above-mentioned drama series, “Sekai no Chushin…,” sheds her high school girl sailor uniform from the last commercial and takes to the crystal waters of Hawaii.
• Also having a change of clothing is actor Matsudaira Ken (51). He has turned in the glittering gold kimono of last year’s mega-hit “Matsuken Samba” for a pirate’s outfit in a TV commercial for glasses maker Megane Top. And the music to go with the new image? Over the next few months prepare to be inundated with the “Matsuken Mambo”! The commercial airs from June 21.