Memoirs of a Geisha Gets a Dream-Team Cast

Steven Spielberg has given up on directing an adaptation of the exquisite bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha, now that he’s busy with what is reportedly the most expensive film in history … War of the Worlds.

But the movie’s moving forward anyway, and now Rob Marshall (Chicago) is in charge. That probably means it’ll be colorful, but does Marshall have the subtlety and poetry necessary to make this anything other than a broad-stroke, commerical opera? (No, I don’t mean that literally… it’s not going to be a musical.)

Fortunately, the cast looks like a dream come true.

Zhang Ziyi is the perfect choice for the lead role of the orphan, Sayuri.

Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) will play the Chairman.

Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) may play Sayuri’s mentor.

And Gong Li, star of Zhang Yimou’s great epic To Live, will probably play Hatsumomo.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at