Following his beautifully mourniful and introspective performance at the forefront of last year’s Best Picture-nominated Drive My Car, Hidetoshi Nishijima is hopefully getting a number of casting deals at the moment. His vulnerable, versatile character work was exemplary, and it demonstrates the depths of his talents, particularly as a leading man. While we’re still waiting to see where he’ll go as an actor, we finally have word of his next big project. As it was announced yesterday, Nishijima will join Rashida Jones in Sunny, a half-hour, ten-episode dark comedy series from Apple TV+ and A24, which will serve as the latest collaboration between the actress, the streamer, and the distributor following 2020’s overlooked On the Rocks.
As Deadline notes, Sunny centers on Suzie (Jones), an American woman living in Kyoto, Japan who finds her life is disarray when she learns that her husband and son disappeared in a mysterious plane crash. As a source of “consolation,” Suzie receives Sunny, a newly-minted domestic robot made by her husband’s electronics company. Though Suzie is resentful at Sunny’s attempts to fill the gap left by her husband and son’s absence, the distressed woman and the mechanical assistant soon develop an unexpected kinship-of-sorts, particularly as they discover some dark secrets related to what really happened to Suzie’s family.
From there, Suzie finds herself entangled in a dangerous world that Suzie didn’t know existed, and may not be able to escape. Nishijima is slated to play Masa Sakamoto, Suzie’s missing husband and a genius roboticist. They’re the only actors attached to the series at this time, but we should expect the cast to grow as production gears up in Japan.
Based on Colin O’Sullivan‘s 2018 novel, The Dark Manual, which will be adapted by executive producer Katie Robbins (The Affair) and directed by Lucy Tcherniak (The End of the F**king World), who will also executive produce alongside Jones, Ravi Nandan, and Jess Lubben, Sunny is the latest streaming series between the indie darling studio and the upstart streaming service. Previously, they produced Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Mr. Corman, and outside of TV, they recently shared joint distribution for Boy State, The Tragedy of Macbeth, and, most recently, this year’s The Sky is Everywhere.
Certainly, as far as streaming shows go, Sunny could easily be one of the most high-profile we’ve gotten from this joint collaboration. It’s a definitely an intriguing project that’s worth keep an eye on, especially as it moves forward with esteemed talent. Additionally, along with this upcoming series, Jones will collaborate with Apple TV+ for Wool, based on the trilogy of world-building novels of the same name by Hugh C. Howey.
Outside of this forthcoming Apple TV+ show, Nishijima will also soon be seen in Kamen Rider Black Sun. He also recently starred in Shin Ultraman, 99.9 Criminal Lawyer: The Movie, and What Did You Eat Yesterday?, to only name a few. Nishjima remains a profilic and hard-working actor in Japan, especially with over 100 credits to his name, and one hopes that Sunny will continue to rise his profile in the States.
Certainly, it’s quite a shame that Ninijima‘s performance wasn’t also recognized among Drive My Car‘s four Oscar nominations, which also included Best International Feature, which it won, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director, particularly as his moving and layered performance was crucial to the movie’s immersive success. But we should only continue to expect great things from this accomplished actor.