The cast of Martin Scorsese’s next film Silence has shifted once more—hopefully for the last time, given that the film is scheduled to shoot early this year. Deadline reports that Ken Watanabe has been replaced by Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano, star of Ichi The Killer, Funky Forest: The First Contact, Tokyo Zombie, Mongol, and more. (He’s probably best known to American audiences as Hogun in the Thor movies.)
Asano will take over the role of an interpreter for two Jesuit priests played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who travel to Japan to investigate reports that their mentor, played by Liam Neeson, has committed apostasy. As we already noted, Scorsese considers the 17th-century period piece to be a thriller about undercover priests, fearful of revealing their beliefs in a land filled with religious persecution. And while the film will no doubt incorporate large elements of author Shusaku Endo’s haunting original novel, no one has said anything about whether it might not be better to have Joe Pesci cracking wise in the middle of all that God talk.