Friday, June 19, 2009

This past week was given over to my Fangoria duties. I completed my interviews for the film "Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl." I did a duo interview with directors Nishimura and Tomomatsu. I've got a long history with both of them, as I've interviewed both on several occasions and have been an actor in 2 of Tomomatsu's films ("Stacy" and "Zombie Self-Defense Force") and was a glorified extra in Nishimura's "Tokyo Gore Police."

We hung out at the offices of Excellent Films (Vampire Girl's production office) and delved into the back story of how the film came about, the production, the actors, etc etc. The usual for me when doing this job. The unusual thing was that Nishimura brought a bunch of beer and we were drinking throughout. I guess I can no longer say that I don't drink on the job.

Yesterday I took a long bus ride down to the lower tip of Chiba to the town of Tateyama to check in on the production of "The Shock Labyrinth." The film is being directed by "The Grudge" director Takashi Shimizu. This makes the 5th production of his I've visited. His sets are always fun. They are very well organized and are always minus the hectic pace normally found on Japanese productions. I don't know how he does it.

The film is being shot in 3D and it's the first time I've been able to watch such a film in production. The camera was really small and basically just two small night vision like goggles strapped together. There was a large monitor on the set that displayed the 3D image. Shimizu tossed me a pair of 3D glasses and sat me next to him so I could get the full impact of the 3D image. The monitor was a typical thin LCD yet when looking at it you felt that it went back much further. That was kind of cool to stare into. I enjoyed watching how they would dress the set in order to enhance the 3D feeling.

Another fun thing about the set was that I could see Ai Maeda again, who is one of the first actors I'd interviewed when I started this job. She was the star of "Gamera 3," which shot back in 1998 (or was it 99? Can't recall offhand). I've hung out with Ai on a number of occasions since then including going out for dinner with her and her sister Aki following the world premiere of "Battle Royale 2." Still, it was 4 years since I saw her last. One of the interesting stories I have about Ai is how when I met her on Gamera she couldn't speak a lick of English. After the production she went to Canada for a year. I met her after that on the set of the Godzilla film "GMK" and she was suddenly fluent in English, putting my Japanese to shame! I guess it's true when they say you have to learn languages when you're young. I didn't learn my first Japanese word until I was almost 30!

Shimizu brought up the fact that I was in the SM bar scene in "Tokyo Gore Police," and told Ai, who had seen the film recently. Shimizu too has a small part in the film. Maybe I should be more careful about the films I appear in...

I'm writing a basic intro piece on the film and will upload it to the Fangoria website later next week.

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