Ken Watanabe battling cancer but promises fans he'll be back

TOKYO -- Ken Watanabe, one of a handful of Japanese actors who has made it on the international stage, underwent surgery for stomach cancer.

See Full Article

But he has beaten serious sickness before, having had leukemia more than 20 years ago.

The early-stage cancer was found in a medical checkup, the Tony- and Oscar-nominated actor said on his Japanese Twitter account. His publicist confirmed the sickness Tuesday, noting the 56-year-old actor will be forced to delay his return to Broadway's "The King and I."

But Watanabe said he'd be back.

"I hate to worry you, but please wait," he tweeted in Japanese.

He had been scheduled to return to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical from March 1-April 17.

He also said he was grateful to his wife, actress Kaho Minami, for having recommended a checkup, and to his daughter, also an actress, for recommending a doctor.

Craig Bankey, Watanabe's press agent, said Tuesday in New York the actor underwent endoscopic surgery and is recuperating.

Watanabe, who has appeared in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and "Inception," also starred in the reboot of "Godzilla" and "Letters From Iwo Jima," directed by Clint Eastwood, and lent his voice to the fourth installment of the Transformers franchise, "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

He earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor in the Tom Cruise-led film "The Last Samurai." "The King and I" was named best musical revival at last year's Tonys and is also nominated for a Grammy for best musical theatre album.

Before his arrival in Hollywood, Watanabe acted in a range of Japanese films, including 1986's "The Sea and Poison," which focused on the serious topic of biological experiments the Japanese carried out on American prisoners of war. The film won an award at the Berlin film festival.

Watanabe took part in more light-hearted works, such as Juzo Itami's "Tampopo," a deliciously colorful film about a noodle restaurant, and Japanese samurai films and TV shows as well.

He had leukemia in the late 1980s and a relapse but has worked regularly since.

Watanabe has long stressed his pride in being part of the legacy of Japanese films -- a legacy he has helped create in a career spanning more than three decades, following predecessors like Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai, who were in Akira Kurosawa films.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 2013, Watanabe said his move into U.S. movies refreshed him, allowing him to relive that same uncertainty and thrill when he started out in the movies in his 20s, he said.

"Actors are always afraid of ending up like overcooked old soup over time. What's risky is that you don't realize this has happened, and you just get thick and boring," said Watanabe.

"Going abroad was like getting a new pot to cook everything again. I was a rookie, a new self. And they were asking me: Who are you?"

AP Drama Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Queens of the ring: Netflix's Glow puts spotlight on women's wrestling, then and now

    Entertainment CBC News
    In the first episode of Netflix's Glow, Ruth Wilder, an aspiring, down-on-her-luck actor (played by Alison Brie), is training inside a wrestling ring. She's one of a dozen or so prospects for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a women's wrestling show headed by Sam Silvia (Marc Maron), an ornery director whose B-movie credits include titles such as Blood Disco. Source
  • Former 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' star Nicholas Brendon strangled woman, slit wrists with glass: Police report

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Nicholas Brendon just can’t stop getting himself into trouble, and this may be his worst incident yet. Brendon, 46, was arrested for domestic abuse on October 18, 2016, his fifth arrest in three years, in a shocking police report exclusively obtained by Radaronline.com. Source
  • Wonder Woman weds Deadpool at comics convention

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Imagine a wedding between Wonder Woman and Deadpool, attended by Mary Poppins, Superman, Dr. Who, Kylo Ren and the Little Mermaid. More than 100 costume-clad nerds, cosplayers, gamers and fantasists gathered June 17 to celebrate the real-life union of Megan Mattingly and Adam Merica, dressed as Wonder Woman and Deadpool, at Awesome Con, an annual Washington comic book and pop-culture convention that drew approximately 71,000 visitors last weekend. Source
  • Slip of tongue fuels speculation on Banksy identity

    Entertainment CTV News
    An unguarded moment in an interview has renewed speculation over one of contemporary art's great mysteries -- could elusive graffiti activist Banksy be Robert Del Naja of band Massive Attack? Goldie, a well-known DJ who was a friend and competitor of Del Naja as the two sprayed Bristol in southwest England with graffiti in the 1980s, made an apparent slip of the tongue in an interview this week. Source
  • More than meets the why? The cinematic slurry that is Transformers: The Last Knight

    Entertainment CBC News
    In the world of modern day blockbusters there is a phrase you hear a lot. "Trailer Moments." Every action film has to have a few. A trailer moment is something larger-than-life. The hero escaping just as the explosion blooms behind her. Source
  • 'The Fault in Our Stars' author announces next novel

    Entertainment CTV News
    John Green, author of the much-loved book "The Fault in Our Stars," has revealed that his next novel will come out on October 10 with the title "Turtles All the Way Down." According to the plot summary, the forthcoming novel focuses on Aza Holmes, a young woman "navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. Source
  • Ron Howard hopes to honour 'great work' done on Han Solo film

    Entertainment CBC News
    Ron Howard says he hopes to honour the great work that's already been done on the Han Solo film and help to deliver on its promise. The Oscar-winner has only been in the pilot's seat on the Star Wars spinoff film for a day but is not wasting any time making his passion for the franchise known. Source
  • 'Transformers: The Last Knight,' Johnny Depp and the Bey-bies and other winners and losers in Hollywood this week

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    You know the song: Some gotta win, some gotta lose Good time Charlie's got the blues. Never mind about that Charlie dude though — let’s just get to the winning and losing this week: WINNERS 1) It was announced earlier this week that Jay-Z and Beyonce have new infant twins, a boy and a girl, although an exact birth date has not yet been confirmed. Source
  • William Shatner on Canada's 150th: 'I was there for Confederation'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    William Shatner doesn’t get all the fuss about Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1. “I was there at Confederation,” jokes Shatner, not quite Canada’s age at 86. “I said to John A.,” he continues, “you know, you should incorporate this country. Source
  • 'It’s a beautiful (Canada) day': Bono, The Edge to attend Parliament Hill festivities

    Entertainment CTV News
    Two unexpected visitors will be dropping into the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill next weekend. U2 frontman Bono and lead guitarist The Edge will make an appearance for the July 1 bash, says Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, who tweeted out the news on Friday. Source