Japan’s Dean Fujioka (“Fullmetal Alchemist,” “The Man From The Sea”) and the U.K.’s Callum Woodhouse (“All Creatures Great and Small,” “The Durrells”) are set to star in “Orang Ikan,” a WWII-set creature horror film. The picture is scripted by Singapore and Indonesia-based Mike Wiluan (“Buffalo Boys,” HBO series “Grisse”) who will also direct the picture from next month.
International rights to “Orang Ikan” have been picked up by London-based SC Films International, which will give the project its sales launch at the Busan festival and accompanying market next month.
Set in the Pacific, 1942, a Japanese ship transports prisoners of war to occupied territories as slave labor. After being torpedoed by allied submarines, a Japanese soldier and a British POW are stranded on a deserted island, but soon discover they are not alone. They are being hunted by a ferocious mythological creature, the Orang Ikan, a human-fish hybrid. Unable to communicate in each other’s language, the two mortal enemies must come together to survive the unknown.
The film is due to start production in October 2023 at Wiluan’s Infinite Studios in Batam, Indonesia, one of the largest production service facilities in Southeast Asia and just a ferry ride from Singapore, before moving into the jungles of Java.
The film is produced by veteran filmmaker Eric Khoo of Singapore’s Zhao Wei Films with production handled by Gorylah Pictures. Structured as a four-way co-venture between Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and the U.K., the film also has support from the Singapore Film Commission.
Executive producers are: Yoshi, Grace Wu, Han Minli, Natalya Pavchinskaya, Jomon Thomas, Anthony Khoo, S Shamkumar, Kenneth Poh, Simon Crowe, Matthew Joynes and Takahiro Yamashita. The film will have a score by Akihiko Matsumoto.
“I grew up on a steady diet of horror movies which ranged from the supernatural to monster flicks. One of my childhood favorites was the classic 1954 monster movie, ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon.’ During the pandemic I came across ‘Hell in the Pacific,’ a 1968 war film about a Japanese soldier and an American serviceman marooned on an island trying to kill each other off. This was the lightbulb moment for me – what if an orang ikan had come ashore in that scenario? In order to survive, the two mortal enemies would have to team up to battle this terrifying beast! What an exciting premise!,” Khoo told Variety. “I’m so pleased that after my 30 years of being in the movie industry, I finally get to produce my first creature feature and with my frequent collaborator Mike Wiluan to boot.”
“’Orang Ikan’ is an origin story with a horror survival theme set in the context of a realistic tragedy during the Second World War in Asia. Using both studio settings and the wonderful wild landscapes of Indonesia- I am excited to capture both the tension, horror and beauty of this concept in various exotic locations,” said Wiluan. “We have assembled a wonderful cast, talented artists and the best crew to undertake this incredible adventure. Every production will have its own set of unique challenges and this film would be an ultimate creative and physical challenge for me that I look forward to tackle.”
SC Films Busan slate also includes animated features “Dragonkeeper” and “Girl in the Clouds” and live action features “On Fire,” “Little Bone Lodge,” “December” and the new Australian thriller “Captive.”