Hollywood Reporter says that "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" co-star Zhang Ziyi is now in final negotiations to play Sayuri, the young geisha of the film's title. Ken Watanabe, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance in "The Last Samurai," will play the Chairman who falls for the geisha. Other actors in final discussions for the Columbia Pictures/DreamWorks/ Spyglass Entertainment film include Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh and Koji Yakusho.
"We could not be more excited about the extraordinary cast that we have in place for 'Memoirs of a Geisha,'" Marshall told the industry paper. "We are adapting a beloved piece of literature that has become a worldwide sensation, which made it important to me to assemble a cast with a prestigious international profile. I cannot wait to begin production this fall."
"Memoirs of a Geisha," based on Arthur Golden's novel of the same, tells the fictional story of Nitta Sayuri's life as a geisha. The novel begins in a 1929 fishing village when the nine-year-old Sayuri is taken from her home and sold into slavery. At a renowned geisha house, she makes the transformation and learns the art of the geisha. The novel has been adapted for the screen by Ron Bass, Akiva Goldsman and Robin Swicord.
A Tony Award nominee for his work on Damn Yankees, Little Me, She Loves Me, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Cabaret, Rob Marshall made his feature-film directorial with the Academy Award-winning adaptation of "Chicago."