Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Yakuza Apocalypse"

Well, that was intense too…

I just finished work on the set of “Yakuza Apocalypse,” a new film coming from director Takashi Miike. 

Much of the movie is under wraps so far be it for me to be the one who jumps the gun on its PR. This means, look elsewhere for hard information. I keep a blog as a place where I can sum up the things I involve myself with. If information is found in my writing then great, but that’s not my purpose here. I am, however, prepping a set report for Fangoria that will have hard information on the movie. It should appear there after the next  official press release and I'll link to my Fango piece when it’s on-line. I did write the first press release that was issued when the movie was announced a month ago. Here’s a Twitch piece based on that press release:

With that said, I will say that the “Yakuza Apocalypse” set was quite the experience. For starters, it was meticulously run. Sure, the schedule was kind of loose, but that’s to be expected. If the day before an AD says “your scene is up for 11am tomorrow so be here at 9am” you can bet that means 10pm and you won’t get out until 2am or later. This kind of thing happens because filmmaking is not an exact science. I've no problem with that. Trust me, there's plenty to see and do during the wait.
What is an exact science is setting up the environment in which to make the film. This is where producers come into play (YA had two of the best producers in Japan) and it means staffers who know how to do their tasks and do it in a way that plays well with others. Everyone was extremely focused and, with Miike leading the way, we all had the best time working on what may be one of the most outrageous storylines of all time. 

And as you can see from this shot one of the actors took of me, I was working very, very hard. X-) 
I celebrated my 55th birthday on the "Yakuza Apocalypse" set. When the clock struck midnight on April 24, adding another annoying digit to the ever growing number of my life span, I was seated beside director Miike. Both of us were focused on his playback monitor as an intense scene of violent weirdness was being enacted just a studio balsawood wall away. I didn’t say anything to anyone about it. I sort of glanced at the clock and the crazy setting around me in Stage 6 at Nikkatsu Studio, and thought to myself, “yeah, happy freakin’ birthday, me”. Of course I also thought about my mom, who passed on a little over a year ago, but then I think about her everyday.

As for Miike himself, I’m a little unsure if I should go there too deeply. For one thing, I came to sense that he’s a private person in a high-profile job. I will say that I think he’s one of the best if not the best director I have ever seen in action. His skill at crafting scenes was phenomenal and his focus never wavered. He threw himself into his work in a way I've never witnessed before. And through it all Miike-san looked like he was having the time of his life. Often I was struck with the feeling "if ever anyone was born to do something..."
The next night I was off and my girlfriend Miyako gave me a small party over at the Golden Gai bar Cambiare. Some of my best friends stopped by to help make it the awesome birthday it turned out to be. I drank lots and ate lots. And, hey, my buddy Yoshiki even splurged on some champagne. But the next morning it was right back to the Miike set...

Anyway, "Yakuza Apocalypse" has wrapped and I’m back writing and editing photos. Two movie sets in as many months is about all I can handle. Fortunately, I have some subtitle gigs to occupy my time with and I just got a job working on a book about Romero zombies, with the emphasis being “Dawn of the Dead.” I had a meeting with the editor from the publishing house the other day and, damn, this guy came by with copies of almost everything I’d ever written on zombies in Japanese: DVD booklets, magazines articles, the recent DAWN blu-ray booklet and even the old LD booklet from the "Perfect Collection" released in 1995, which was my first real writing job in Japan. More on this book when it takes shape, but it's looking good to me.

I was also interviewed recently by the website Asian They asked me a bunch of cool questions and it was enjoyable to speak my mind. The interview is presented in both English and Italian:



They also wrote a review of my movie "New Neighbor" that you can find here:

I really need to get some more bookings for this...
Oh, yeah, and here’s a poster for a film I recently subbed and did PR writing. It’s called “High Kick Angels,” an action film featuring a group of high school girls trying to make an action film in an abandoned school that gets taken over by a gang looking for a bunch of money hidden somewhere in said school. The movie is a bit goofy, but it’s charming as hell, and some of the fight scenes are really amazing. I’m happy with how the poster came out and, well, I think my catchphrase is pretty outrageous. Man, I love writing movie poster taglines.
Until next entry...