Ever since his Oscar-nominated Hollywood debut as Lord Katsumoto in 2003's "The Last Samurai," Ken Watanabe has been the best-known Japanese actor in the world.

Along with other memorable screen roles in "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Batman Begins" (both 2005), "Letters from Iwo Jima" (2006) and "Inception" (2010), he also ventured into Broadway's unforgiving spotlight in the hit 2015 musical "The King and I" — with his portrayal of the King of Siam earning him a best lead actor nomination at the Tony Awards, the first-ever for a Japanese performer.

Recently, however, Watanabe has been busy in Tokyo preparing to play the title role of a Spanish conquistador in "Pizarro" — an adaptation of 1964's "The Royal Hunt of the Sun" by the English playwright Sir Peter Shaffer.