Watanabe To Donate Film Salary To Alzheimer's
The Last Samurai star Ken Watanabe was so stirred playing a 50-year-old man diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, he plans to dedicate a portion of his salary to Japan's Alzheimer's Association.
The actor read author Hiroshi Ogiwara's book Memories of Tomorrow while he was making Memoirs of a Geisha and was so touched by the story he asked the writer to let him have the film rights.
The plight of Watanabe's tragic, memory-losing character made the actor want to do more for those trapped inside their bodies.
He says, "Alzheimer's is a very serious problem and young Alzheimer's sufferers still have energy and it progresses quickly.
"All of the patients lost their memory but their emotion still remained with sadness and happiness, pain. I was involved with adapting and writing the script and before writing it we were concerned about how much of Alzheimers we could show in the film.
"We met real patients and their families, and nurses and doctors and visited nursing homes and we were very sensitive about which elements we could show.
"We wanted to show enough of the disease so that people who have experienced it would believe the story and also to show enough of the disease so that people who haven't experienced it wouldn't be afraid."