As a lovelorn cop in Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express, he ate expired cans of pineapple; as a mute urban guerrilla in Wong's Fallen Angels, he broke into other people's businesses and forced passers-by to be his customers. Those were the first two films in which I saw Takeshi Kaneshiro; his brooding, romantic looks have served him well in a career that has ranged all over Asia -- aided, no doubt, by his broad appeal and multi-lingual talents. Born in Taiwan, he speaks Japanese, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

His highest profile titles in the West have probably been the Japanese science fiction action picture The Returner and Zhang Yimou's costumed martial arts epic House of Flying Daggers. He's one of the stars of the just released action epic The Warlords (which has done boffo box office) and will also be featured in John Woo's upcoming Red Cliff. Kaneshiro will also be starring in The Fiend With Twenty Faces (AKA K-20: Kaijin niju menso den), according to a recent story by Mark Schilling at Variety Asia Online.

Kaneshiro will play a master criminal plying his trade in a fictional Japanese city in 1949. The lovely Takako Matsu -- who is coming off a lead performance in the big fall hit Hero -- has been set to portray a victim of "The Fiend" and veteran Toro Nakamura will co-star as a detective. Shimako Sato will direct. Filming is scheduled to begin in January and Toho plans to release it in December 2008. I'm hard pressed at the moment to think of a role in which Kaneshiro has played someone that could be called a "fiend," so I'll be very interested to see what comes of a film that's been described as a mystery crime drama.