Miike Takashi talks about JoJo and Kento at #NIFFF17

Here are some notes from Uehara Akiko’s interview with Miike Takashi at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival.

#1 Director Miike talks about JoJo, Sitges, etc.

  • The town of Morioh, modelled after Sendai (S-city) in Miyagi (M-Prefecture) in Japan, is Araki-sensei’s memory of the town when he was a child. But the wide streets, buildings, atmosphere, etc. has a European feel to it. If the movie were filmed in Japan, it would have turned out very differently.
  • When he read the manga, he felt a resemblance to Sitges (Spain) which he visited previously for a film festival. Sitges has the calm and tranquility that Morioh had, and is a very quiet and gentle town along the coast. He hadn’t thought about the cost of filming there then, all he wanted was to create Japan within Sitges.
  • Many Japanese and asians living nearby became extras in the movie, which made it look like a Japanese town. They created new signboards but they aren’t the same as those in Japan but Sitges-style signboards written in Japanese i.e. a hybrid.
  • “Movie is freedom.” The actors were able to portray their characters boldy. If the movie were filmed in Japan, their acting would have been restricted.
  • Because of the above he wanted Sitges, and Araki-sensei was also very happy about it.

#2 Director Miike talks about Lead actor Yamazaki Kento

  • Miike has been to many film festivals before but it’s the first time for Yamazaki Kento (as a lead actor) to take part in any film festival at all, be it overseas or in Japan.
  • When they first arrived in Neuchatel, the town was very quiet unlike Cannes which was buzzling. “Oh, there’s no one around.” So happened that when they arrived it was a Saturday/Sunday, and the shops were closed. “Eh? Will anyone turn up for the screening?” And… “Oh, there are swans!” “Ah, but swans wouldn’t watch the movie…” (lol)
  • Kento was wondering what’s going to happen, this being his first time, but when they entered the theatre, it was packed with people. “Eh, there are so many people!” And the audience cheered and gave such a warm applause at the end.
  • “I’m already used to it now… but when I first went to an overseas film festival, there was a moment where I was overwhelmed… To became one with the audience… That feeling that the movie is able to bring you to many places outside Japan. It’s something that he (Kento) can experience only now. I’m glad that at this point we chose to take part in this film festival. He experienced a memorable and unforgettable night of his life yesterday.”
  • “When we left the theatre again after the screening, the streets were so quiet again… It was really a ‘fantastic’ film festival.” The gap between the theatre and the outside (lol).
  • It’s normal for people to think “this boy is so cute, can he play Josuke?” and there’s certainly some stress at wanting to express something that’s not possible in reality. This role is very different from Kento’s image to date, but he was lively and charming. Of course his looks is different, obviously, from the Josuke that’s drawn in the manga, but this is Yamazaki Kento’s own JoJo. Miike feels that the experience last night will change Kento as an actor and as a person.

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