02/07, Cinema Cafe.
Sakurazuka Yakkun Brings Up the Absent Ishida Issei at the Yoroi: Samurai Zombie Talk Show Event.
Yoroi: Samurai Zombie, a survival action flick that presents “extreme historical zombies,” that stars Ueda Hiromi (well-known as Sakurazuka Yakkun), and that is the second effort of director Sakaguchi Taku, who debuted last year with Sakigake!! Otokojuku (Be a Man! Samurai School), opens on the 14th of February (Sat). Before this, on the 4th of February (Wed), a talk show entitled “Director Sakaguchi Taku and Pleasant Company” took place. Sakaguchi, Mr. Ueda and his costar Natsume Nana, Sakaguchi’s sword friend Yamaguchi Yûdai (a well-known zombie freak), and the film’s scriptwriter/producer Kitamura Ryûhei—called Sakaguchi’s “foster father”—all went on stage and showed the assembly a good time.
The show began with a sung toast to the director. Ms. Natsume went on stage first and revealed an incident on set when she felt very angry with the director. “The set was extremely cold, and while everyone was working very hard the director, on his own, was drinking hot wine and got drunk,” Ms. Natsume said. “And then, when I went with Yakkun to consult with the director about a scene we had he told us that he was drinking from that point on and to get out!” Sakaguchi laughed and sheepishly confessed, “At one point on the set, I got drunk and became very unstable. I called ‘action’ and then lay down and went to sleep.” After that, Sakaguchi personally issued a ban on hot wine, among other things. As the evening continued, Mr. Ueda energetically made his entrance, wearing a specially made jacket upon which was written the phrase “Warning: Panda Crossing.” His first words were, “I’m a stand-in for (my costar) Ishida Issei. The truth is that Ishida should’ve been here, but…,” starting the talk off with Ishida’s name, which he had used to enliven a talk show a few days previously. Although he caused the organizers to give him a “no good” sign, Ueda stirred up the audience in full-on “Yakkun-mode,” saying, “You all want to hear about it!” Speaking his mind and holding nothing back, Ueda said, “Ishida was a wonderful person on-set. Right from our first meeting, he taught me everything—even about my lovemaking scene.”
Next, Mr. Yamaguchi, a long time associate of Sakaguchi’s, appeared on stage slightly drunk. Regarding Yoroi: Samurai Zombie, he said, “Although, in Kitamura’s first script, [the film] was a real horror flick, it changed when it became a film! Tak’s character met Kitamura’s script and chemistry (chemical reaction) took place.” Additionally, on the subject of the zombies that appear in the script, he gave this opinion: “These are a new type of zombie that cannot be categorized with the zombies that have so far appeared in films.”
Called in by Sakaguchi and Mr. Yamaguchi, the last person to appear onstage was Mr. Kitamura. According to Sakaguchi, his first meeting with Mr. Kitamura took place in the same place as the day’s talk show event. Sakaguchi and Yamaguchi were visiting Shinjuku’s LOFT/PLUS ONE and Mr. Kitamura was in the middle of a brawl with a foreign customer… From Kitamura there were stories of Sakaguchi going to the mountains to train and fighting with bears, of Sakaguchi getting his start by starring in Kitamura’s films, and, furthermore, frequently embarrassing episodes that cannot really be told in public were one after another announced. Moreover, as the night wore on what was supposed to be a “lecture on women’s self defense” completely changed into a solo-performance parade of Sakaguchi’s dirty jokes, and the assembly received a large serving.
“It’s a horror, but it’s a film that you can laugh at.” (Mr. Ueda). “Even I, who hate zombies and horror, can watch this film, and so I want to show it to my family.” (Ms. Natsume). “It’s a splatter horror that anyone can enjoy; to be easy on the girls even the guts only come out ‘a little.’ (Laughs).” (Sakaguchi). Yoroi: Samurai Zombie opens on the 14th of February at Theater N in Shibuya and nationwide after that.
Yoroi costar Ishida Issei has been on indefinite house arrest since the end of last month after problems in his personal life led to his attempting to commit suicide. Recently, he has rallied and issued statements to the effect that he will recover and make a comeback, but he was–obviously–incapable of attending the LOFT/PLUS ONE event. He will not be attending the film’s premiere either.