Watanabe Joining Universal’s Freak Show

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Ken Watanabe has signed on to join John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek in Universal Pictures vampire pic Cirque du Freak, reports Variety.

Paul Weitz is directing the film, which is based on the best-selling 12-book children’s series by Darren Shan. Brian Helgeland (Mystic River) wrote the screenplay.

Reilly will play a vampire who drafts a 14-year-old to serve as his assistant. The youth is turned into a half-vampire and becomes the catalyst in a battle between vampires and the rival Vampanese. Hayek will play Madame Truska, the bearded lady.

Watanabe will portray Mr. Tall, the barker for the Cirque.

Shooting is set to start next month.

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