Remake of 'Unforgiven' invites press to the set
[caption id="attachment_273500" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Watanabe Ken and Sato Koichi"][/caption]
Director Lee Sang-il ('Akunin') and his cast, lead by Watanabe Ken, are currently in the middle of filming the Japanese remake of the Academy Award-winning movie 'Unforgiven' (Japanese title: 'Yurusarezaru Mono'). On October 24, they released the first still cuts and invited press to visit the set.
'Yurusarezaru Mono' is set in the Ezo (or Yezo) area of Japan after the collapse of the Edo shogunate in 1880. A major part of filming takes place at a huge open set in Kamikawa, Hokkaido. Watanabe is playing a samurai with a violent past named 'Kamata Juubee', who settled down with his Ainu wife but has wield his sword again in order to escape from poverty by working as a bounty hunter.
The press was able to witness the scene where Juubee is stopping by a bar that also operates as a brothel. Instead of being able to relax - without sake, he gets confronted by the feared local police chief (Sato Koichi; Gene Hackman in the original).
Ahead of filming, Watanabe and Director Lee Sang-il can be seen carefully discussing Juubee's manner in the scene in which he calmly rejects taking a shot of sake. Watanabe explained, "Similar to the original character played by Clint Eastwood, Juube has been staying away from alcohol ever since he met his wife. Personally I'm trying to do the same during the filming." It's said that he only drinks non-alcoholic beer even when having a few drinks as a team in the evening.
Surrounded by wilderness, he stated, "It feels like the land of Hokkaido is slowly being taken into your body." They are often filming deep into the night and the darkness gives the whole area an eerie atmosphere. There is no cell phone reception in the area. Moreover, this area is known for its wild brown bears, which keeps everyone on their toes. He continued, "This area is only inhabited by those bears. There aren't even that many locals living here. A brown bear can appear anytime, so you always get frightened as soon is it starts to rustle somewhere nearby."
The scene with the confrontation between Juubee and the police chief actually was the first time Watanabe and Sato have been working together ever since the start of filming on the 1st. Sato expressed, "I've been looking forward to this day." It's quite a fierce scene where Juubee is getting beaten and kicked by the chief, all while having to restrain himself from getting back at him.
Sato added, "The other day I even had to repeatedly keep on hitting and kicking Kunimura Jun as well... but it is hard mentally and physically for me to have to beat people up." He can often be seen reaffirming the strike points and the strength he can put into his strikes with his acting partner in order to make sure that nothing goes wrong. He continued, "I'm already in my fifties, but I've never experienced such violent actions. Ken-chan told me that our friendship won't suffer by me beating him, so I'm trying not to restrain myself."
Young actress Kutsuna Shiori has already left a big impression with her performance as a prostitute who got defaced by two brothers. She expressed, "Watanabe is always on set. Even when there is a scene without him, I can always feel his gaze. I heard he's a very passionate person, so I'm looking forward to the coming scenes I'll be appearing together with him."
The filming will continue next month and is scheduled to conclude at the end of November.
‘Yurusarezaru Mono’ is slated for a release sometime in fall 2013.
Sources: Cinema Today, eiga.com
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