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Cancer-battling Japanese comedian to appear in Iranian movie

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 07.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback

TEHRAN -- Japanese comedian Kanpei Hazama, 60, who is currently on the "Earth Marathon," sailing and running around the world as he battles cancer, is playing a starring role in a film directed by an Iranian director who was moved by the comedian-runner's story.

Director Kamal Tabrizi, 50, who is known for the Japan-Iranian co-production, "The Wind Carpet," approached Hazama last December after hearing that the comedian would be running through Iran. "I wanted to show how Hazawa is inspiring people all over the world as he runs," he says.

There were fears that production might have to be cancelled when Hazama was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January. He subsequently resumed running while receiving chemotherapy and on Feb. 14, arrived in Iran. Scenes in which Hazama appears were all shot between Feb. 24 and 28. The film will be completed in early March, and is expected to arrive in theaters in Japan this fall.

In the film, entitled "I Ran & Run," a young female teacher arrives in a mountain village to teach, but is considering leaving after suffering extreme disappointment from the local children's lack of drive and spirit. Around the same time, the village is paid a visit by Hazama, who is running around the world as he battles cancer. The children become spirited through their interactions with Hazama, and the young teacher decides to give the job another go.

Shooting took place in a village outside Tehran, with a cast that was entirely Iranian except for Hazama. "It's so unexpected and wonderful to be acting in an Iranian film during my marathon around the world," Hazama says. "I hope that Japanese people feeling down will watch the movie, too."

Hazama set off on his Earth Marathon from Osaka in December 2008, and Iran is the 14th country through which he has travelled since then. He has covered over 30,000 kilometers and is aiming to return to Japan in November.

(Mainichi Japan) March 7, 2010

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