In the Eyes of Others (Part 1): Fukuda Yasushi
Fukuda Yasushi 福田靖, Screenwriter (Galileo, Change, Suspect X, Ryoma-den)
The first time I met Fukuyama Masaharu-san, was when I was writing the script of “Galilieo” for Fuji TV. Fukuyama-san played the lead role - the genius physicist. He had strongly requested for a reading rehearsal, so as to have an idea (of the character) before shooting the first episode. So the director, producer and I went over to the music recording studio in Azabu, Tokyo.
Before the meeting, the director had said to me, “Because he feels that he is basically a musician, he hopes that we can be give him our frank advice when it comes to acting.” To be honest, I had my doubts at that time. That the “Fukuyama Masaharu” who’s obviously had lots of experience in acting, would really be so modest and open-minded…?
I have worked with numerous actors before. Amongst them, many have been hailed as “popular” but I have almost never had a chance to really talk to them. Some screenwriters would actively try to communicate with the actors, but I’m the type who likes to keep their distance when they work. The reason? If actors can read the script objectively, then the profile of the character will emerge automatically…….there are probably 5 reasons in all, and the fifth (and most important) is because I don’t want to make myself unhappy.
Because “stars” make their living through popularity, sometimes their public image is made up. Some stars are good to look at from afar, but once you meet them in person, you can get very disappointed. I have seen many of these. And the moment they know I’m the screenwriter, their attitude changes. They turn aloof and start dictating to you how they want their roles to be written. This happens often enough.
Unwittingly, I have become used to second-guessing what they really mean behind the words they say. I have my pride as a screenwriter, I don’t want to make myself unhappy. That’s why I try to keep away from actors if I can. And because of this, I found it difficult to believe what Fukuyama-san had said (above) right away. On the contrary, I felt that someone who knew how to make use of such modest words, would no doubt be difficult to approach and a big shot. I became more defensive than usual.
Then “Fukuyama Masaharu” appeared.
“Oh! How do you do? I’m Fukuyama Masaharu. Pleased to meet you.” He came into the room with a bright smile, extending his hand. No pretence, no arrogance, no hypocritic smile, just a very genuine manner. He was different from all the other actors I have seen before. When I looked up at him, he had a good face and gave out the aura of a bright star. How can I put it…..you’d feel it was very relaxing to talk with him. In an instant, Fukuyama-san had taken my defensiveness and useless pride away. The room became a very comfortable and a great place to talk.
As a result, we had a very meaningful meeting. He really listened to our opinions with sincerity. And he was able to grasp the character precisely. He’s very intelligent, he built his analysis on a combination of rational and emotional reasoning. I was very impressed by that.
By that time, I was certain that I would enjoy this project of writing the “Galileo” script tremendously. I knew that I would be drawn in by Fukuyama-san, beyond my capacity as the screenwriter. In reality, Yukawa Manabu, the gifted physicist that he played in “Galileo” was very charming indeed and completely roused my imagination. At the same time, the theme music he created was truly fantastic! As I expected, I have become his fan.
When I found out that Fukuyama-san liked to drink champagne, that was all I drunk during that time. In the meeting, he had brought over some liquor: “We can try this, it’s not bad!” So I ordered the same liquor online, and tried to drink it at home with a “Fukuyama Masaharu” state of mind. I was a real follower! It’s very embarrassing.
It has been a year since the first time we met. What he has never stopped showing me, was that he is a talented musician and actor, and a top-grade producer. He isn’t overly confident; he looks at things objectively, and is fully aware of what’s happening in the world around. So, he knows exactly where he stands. I believe that is because he has an acute sensitivity and is a very reasonable person at the same time. It’s a wonderful achievement to be able to be to maintain that sensibility in this entertainment industry for almost 20 years, it’s truly rare.
And, watching him in his live performances, you can sense his masculine reliability when he sings his ballads. Every time I see him, I notice different genres of charm about him, he is an artist who is able to dazzle us in various aspects. I feel very fortunate to have been able to encounter and work with this person.
“Yogisha X no Kenshin”, the movie version of “Galilieo”, will be released in cinemas in October (2008), please go and see it. Fukuyama-san will show a different side of himself in this movie, compared to what you saw in “Galileo”. His charm is focused together and like a jewel, his presence in the movie is powerful. It has been a long time since I have seen a movie that is capable of making me shed my tears and forget that I had written the script myself.
Finally, I have been a screenwriter for 12 years. This is the first time I have written anything about a single actor. And I do not believe there will be a next time! Fukuyama-san has caused me to abandon my dignity and work principles. Yet, I don’t know why, I’m happy to be doing that….
It’s all Fukuyam Masaharu’s fault.
~ The End ~
Fukuda Yasushi, Screenwriter. He has written many well-known drama scripts like Galileo, Change, Hero, the “Kyumei Byoto 24 Ji” series (救命病棟24時 24 Hour Emergency Ward) and movies like “20th Century Boys” etc. Naturally, the screenplay for “Yogisha X no Kenshin” (aka Suspect X) was his creation. At present, he is working on the screenplay for the 2010 NHK Taiga “Ryoma-den”.
~ Magazine “anan”, Issue no. 1628 (2008.10) ~
Translated from Fukuyama Honne (Articles 5183 & 5199)
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)