Watanabe Barks Up Freak Role

Ken Watanabe (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA) will play the carnival barker, Mr. Tall, in Universal Pictures' screen adaptation of Darren Shan's 12-volume children's series CIRQUE DU FREAK, reports VARIETY. He joins fellow cast members John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek in the Paul Weitz-directed production.

Adapted by MYSTIC RIVER screenwriter Brian Helgeland, the story follows a vampire (Reilly) who transforms a 14-year-old boy into his half-vampire assistant. The teen goes on to spur an epic battle between the vampires and their rivals, the Vampanese.

Production is set to begin next month.

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