Movie pamphlet – Ninomiya Kazunari interview
The movie pamphlet was a present from my darling arashinokizuna before she left Japan after the 5x10 concert :3 Thank you captain!!! I've also included something from the director as well because it was about Nino!
What was your first impression upon reading the original work?
I thought, “Ah, what a lonely child.” I wondered why he was such a sorrowful child. Shuuichi seems to be level-headed yet at the same time, not level-headed.
As someone from the same generation, have you come to like the young boy Shuuichi?
I didn’t hate him. Maybe it’s the flow of the times, but the characters that I usually play in dramas and such are mostly cool, honour students. Not getting involved in troublesome matters or just going through something without asking. But Shuuichi wasn’t a child like that. He’s even involved in troublesome matters. That’s why, I don’t dislike him, and it was really easy to work with. This kid is not cool. That’s why, it was fun doing this.
Shuuichi loves his family so strongly that he caused trouble, but do you feel any sympathy for him?
I sympathized with the thinking of having something you must protect no matter what, and wanting to protect that till the very end. It’s just, I do understand that, but for this child, his feelings went ahead of him and then his body followed. He has the proper planning ability but before he knew it, he killed someone with electrocution. I can control things like that, so if my parents were to divorce, remarry, and if I didn’t like the old geezer, I think I’d move out. But Shuuichi-kun had no such choice. It backfired on him, his tendency to question everything.
Having to act as a character like that, wasn’t it painful?
The idea of acting something out, is unbearably fun. Not receiving any instructions from the director (laughs). There wasn’t a thing like, do it this way, or do it that way. I don’t know if that’s the right way or not, but I did it how I imagined it to be, the director approved of it, and things progressed just like that.
Director Ninagawa mentioned that he leaves the acting to you and picks whatever that was good amongst that…
But, having it entrusted to me, it’s hard for me too (laughs). It’s just, in the middle of doing it, I managed to do it with a really good feeling, so I thought, “As, expected, he’s a director.” It might just be the problem of marking something, but normally, directors don’t usually instruct without moving from their positions, but Ninagawa-san accommodates to me moving to my own convenience, and came next to me. It might be because the director is someone who expresses human feelings as a job, but he understood me in a way like “Ah, so he’s this type of kid.” We’ve gotten along extremely well.
After filming this, did anything in you change?
I became greedy towards acting. The control tower doesn’t say anything, but there's no way the troops in ambush won't move. The more I do it, the more I don’t understand. I have a lot of things I want to ask the director, but inside myself, somehow I don’t want to ask. At those times I feel stubborn, but I think it’s more like greed. I think like that now.
It seems like the scene with Noriko at the train station was filmed with close to no preparations.
The director said “I’m leaving it up to you” but on that day, I didn’t bring my script, so I felt insecure not being able to read through it once again. I thought I had to do it properly since I had been told that it’s up to me, but even as I was thinking that, I diverted it to Ayaya by saying “I’m leaving it up to you.” (laughs)
Other than to kiss, it seems like there were no other suggestions, but did you discuss a lot with Matsuura-san?
There’s no way there’d be a kiss, that’s what I thought too. Even in the water tank scene, there was actually the setting of him crying into the chest of Noriko who was sitting on the floor, but I didn’t like that. I thought it would change the subject. Even with the train station scene, Ayaya worked hard. I didn’t know what would be done to me. To me there was a lot of ad-lib. To Ayaya, the director gave her a suggestion by saying “Wouldn’t it be better to move closer to him?” but that was only one of the suggestions, so she said it would be good if she moved however she liked. I was going to say “I’ve killed someone” so she could just go home after that, or she could move closer to me. So, even if I stood there, I don’t have any idea what she would do next.
It has turned into a very good scene where Shuuichi and Noriko’s pure love can be seen.
We definitely can’t show the other side of that scene, though (laughs). Because it was a scene of there being 2 hidden cameras on two cardboards that were about 2 meters tall, and director Ninagawa was wandering around the shops chewing gum. In the movie it was the setting of sunset, but we actually took it during the morning rush, so nobody noticed us.
Which part (of the movie) do you want people from your own generation to watch the most?
I would like them to watch the idea of being under aged, or more like the parts where one goes all out and have it backfire on you. People who already know the main story through the original work too, might have their own way of imagining or their own way of looking at it, so I’ll be really happy if they can watch it carefully too.
NOW WITH A BONUS!!!
Ninagawa Yukio interview
Regarding Ninomiya Kazunari
Ninomiya Kazunari-san is an extremely good actor.
He was better than I imagined. As an actor in that generation, he passes off satisfactorily even at world level - Being able to act with such subtle sensitivity at such a young age. It was to the point of me deciding that he would be my main after talking to him for about 5 to 6 minutes.
Which part of him were you most attracted to?
His subtle sensitivity. I thought that if I filmed this child carefully, I might be able to catch the fine, minor shadows that youths possess. However, it was totally no good at the script reading (laughs). And then, when he entered the studio, he transformed so much I could hardly recognize him. I’m sure he thought about it considerably.
When you met Ninomiya-san, you felt that he was a person with extreme absorbing power (fascinating/gripping).
Yes. But you can’t see him burning with desire. He was quiet and sensitive. I have never seen him with the script during filming. He came with all the lines memorized in his head. He was a good kid with extreme sensitivity and flexibility. Even when we were all grouped up, the two of us talked a lot about movies. What was the meaning of the acting in “Ashes and Diamonds” for the 60s, or how would James Dean appear (in movies), we talked about many things. I said, “There are no rules to acting, so do it freely. Because I’ll definitely film good things.”
 Ashes and Diamonds : a 1948 novel by the Polish writer Jerzy Andrzejewski. In 1958 it was adapted into a film of the same name.
Also, regarding the words Ninagawa-san used to describe Nino : he used the word "繊細 sensai" which in English translates to "sensitive" or "delicate." It's a very difficult word to translate due to the difference in nuances in both Japanese and English, so I went with "sensitive" which I felt was better suited when it comes to acting.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed it! :3 Comments would be very much appreciated - no pressure, though!