Taipei, Oct. 20 (CNA) Veteran Japanese actor Masatoshi Nagase was touted on Sunday for his performance in the Taiwanese baseball film "Kano," which is scheduled to hit theaters in February next year.
"Nagase is a great actor. Sometimes I can't bear to say 'cut,'" aboriginal director Umin Boya, also known by his Chinese name Ma Chih-hsiang, told reporters in an interview.
Taiwanese director Wei Te-sheng, one of the film's producers, also praised Nagase for his superb acting and said the actor would often read historical documents to immerse himself in his character Hyotaro Kondo, a strict Japanese coach of Taiwan's first baseball team.
Set in 1931, when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, "Kano" -- abbreviation of Chiayi Agriculture and Forestry Public School -- tells the true story of the high school's baseball team that traveled to Japan that summer to play in the Koshien tournament, a renowned high school baseball tournament.
Taking its title from the team's name, the film portrays the rigorous training of the team, which was composed of Japanese players and Taiwanese athletes of both Han Chinese and indigenous origins, and how it advanced to the finals of the tournament.
Nagase, who is visiting Taiwan to do voicing for the film, said he at first hesitated to join the cast due to other work engagements back home, but was eventually moved by the film's "powerful" story and characters.
To get to know more about his character, Nagase said he had sought out a former student of Kondo -- now over 80 years of age -- to ask him what the coach was like.
The former student told him that Kondo was a "stern" coach but cares about team members' daily life.
Nagase said he is excited about the film and looks forward to seeing its completed version in the near future.
"Kano" has a budget of around NT$250 million (US$8.55 million). It was shot in southern Taiwan's Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung, as well as in Taichung, central Taiwan.
(By Hsu Hui and Christie Chen)