Ryoma x Yataro x Hanpeita : A 3-Way Talk (Part 2)
Fukuyama Masaharu x Kagawa Teruyuki x Omori Nao
F: Masha (Ryoma) K: Kagawa Teruyuli (Yataro) O: Omori Nao (Hanpeita)
Continued from here
F : The first half of the drama clearly shows how we all hated the predicament we had to endure as kashi. Ryoma was brought up well provided for, in a branchline of a merchant family. Although quite different from the circumstances that Yataro and Hanpeita grew up in, (our feelings as kashi) were no doubt the common ground we shared.
K : At the same time, I had developed a special feeling for this “Fukuyama•Ryoma”. If a man with such looks, popularity and magnanimity is unable to succeed simply because he was a kashi, then there’s no hope for the rest of us. As Yataro, I’d often be filled with dread. Although I say I hated him, deep inside I’d earnestly hope that Ryoma could make it.
F : I grew up in the same surroundings as Yataro. Because my old man was “Yajiro”.
O : No!!! (laugh)
F : Never earnestly looking for a job, spending his days on Mahjong. When I was in elementary school, he’d come home drunk in the middle of the night, wake us up and give us money, saying “I won this in gambling. Here, go get the Chogokin* (Mazinger Z) you always wanted.” That would have been fine, but when he sobered up the next day, he’d say “Give it back to me!” (laugh)
K/O : Wahahahaha!!
F : He was awful. Mother had to find part-time work, while my older brother and I delivered newspapers during elementary school.
K : Just like Yataro selling birdcages when he was young. Do you want to switch parts to play Yataro?
(They all burst out laughing.)
F : And back at home, there was much more competition for public high school places than private. Because my elder brother couldn’t make it into public high school, and had to go to a private one, Mother threatened me, saying “If you fail your Prefectural High School entrance exam, I will make you work on a fishing boat.” (laugh)
K/O : Wahahahahaha!!
F : Of course, my senpais who were really working on fishing boats had told me horror stories of how young newcomers would get bullied by their fishermen senpais. So thinking there was no way I was going there, I frantically forced myself to study, and finally made it into the Prefectural Technical High School. (laugh)
K : The frantically studying modern version of Iwasaki Yataro. And, just as Yataro climbed to the peak of Mitsubishi, Fukuyama Masaharu stands at the peak of the music industry……….
F : Haha. In short, I can relate to everything about Yataro. No matter how much grief he gives to Ryoma, I can still empathize strongly with him. (laugh)
O : Coming back to (your point on) the social status of the kashi, I couldn’t get a grasp of what it actually meant in real life. So I read up a lot of literature. These discriminatory rules made at the end of the Sengoku era (戦国 warring states)* actually remained in force for over 200 years, I found that hard to believe. For Hanpeita, who was good in both pen and sword, I guess he would have wanted to change that status quo very much. He was very faithful to that mentality as he went on ahead in life.
K : Hanpeita had been consistent in what he said throughout.
O : He had the conceit to believe that his thinking was absolutely right. A part of him would look down on Ryoma and Yataro. But in the scene that both of you mentioned earlier, the one that left a strong impression - when Hanpeita saw Ryoma and Yataro struggling on the river bank, it struck him hard that they were all in the same boat together. In other words, the kashi had a most desperate time. And I also had a very desperate time, learning all my lines.
F/K : Wahahahahaha!!
K : Because there is a lot of kanji in Hanpeita’s lines.
F : Just as Kagawa-san said, Hanpeita had the role of the story teller, showing us very clearly the rationale behind the behaviour of young men during the Bakumatsu. That’s why every word and phrase in his lines must be followed to the dot with no room for discretion.
O : That’s right (laugh).
K : Slashing your blade and screaming, the times when you’d get caught up in the tension without realizing it, Omori-san ………(laugh). But I believe Ootomo Keiji-san and his production methods are the key that enabled us to let our feelings flow out so naturally.
O : I think so too. His “one-scene” shots (filming a complete scene from beginning to end) - I’ve experienced Ootomo-san’s directing technique in the drama “Hagetaka”* before. It makes it very easy for us to get into character. Since we’re not chopping our performance into small parts, we can fully play out our emotions. We don’t even need to keep watch on where we should stand.
K : Actors don’t often see this method of directing.
O : Quite a lot of times, when they don’t call “CUT” after we finish our lines, that means they’re expecting more. So we just keep going. Well, this being a period drama and we speaking in Tosa-ben (dialect), sometimes (we’re so caught up in the scene) we’d forget and start talking in standard Japanese.
F : This is the first time I’ve come across this directing technique. Before filming began, I kept asking Ootomo-san “How are we going to do it? Will it be OK?” And he kept answering “It’ll be fine” so many times, it actually made me more worried. I was really nervous when I came on the set. But after actual filming began, (I realized that) the camera continues to roll even after “NG” (no good scenes), so it allows us to start again at our own pace. We’re given a lot of freedom this way and it feels very comfortable.
K : Most dramas are put together by selecting the best shots in each take, and then piecing them together scene by scene in the editing room. But this time, even if we mess up our lines or if the microphone gets caught on camera, they’d let us go on. The camera keeps rolling and we’ll just redo the entire scene a few times. Then they’ll choose the best parts in the editing room and link them together. Doing away with old practices, breaking new ground, Ootomo-san is a “Ryoma” too!
F : Yes, that’s right.
K : Compared to the past Taigas where the characters simply sit there and talk, we seem to have a lot of action and running about this time. As a result, I’m tired out after filming every scene (laugh). With our schedule tightly packed, scene after scene, it really calls for a very high level of energy.
F : That’s true. I feel like we’ve covered a lot in one day’s worth of filming.
K : But when you finally hear the call for “CUT”, and you see the expression change on the faces of the staff, that’s the moment we actors live for. The energy we put in, the stimulation between the actors - if we can see that come through on the screen, I believe we have accomplished our mission.
O : Me too, I love the feel of that moment when fellow actors impact on each other and the atmosphere generated from it. We’d forget we’re acting and our lines come out as a natural reaction. Finally, we hear “CUT” and then we transform back to ourselves. That point in time, to me, is the epitome of being an actor.
F : I don’t have that much experience on the set, but every time we finish a “one-scene” shot, there’s quite a strong response from the people there, even applause. This is something I don’t see much, until now. We’re only in the opening phase now, but if we can keep this sense of fulfillment ongoing until the end, that would be great.
O : With the cast challenging each other through their acting, releasing their emotions without restraint…..I’m looking forward to seeing how this drama will turn out. And I also want to know what personalities my character, Ryoma and Yataro will develop into.
K : Before they finish with the editing, even the actors won’t know what the drama will ultimately look like. To be honest, I think some taiga fans may find it hard to get used to at first. But we’re looking for a breakthrough, a taiga that can bring in new things. “Please let me keep to this style. Because that’s the way!” Let me make use of this occasion to say that to myself as well (laugh)
F : I’m happy as can be every day, filming on the “Ryomaden” set. The older I get, the more important it feels, for me to enjoy myself at work. That’s why it’s a blessing in a way that I’ve been able to encounter such a set (# i.e. the people, shared goals and work ethics) where I truly feel happy from the bottom of my heart. I’m sure the resulting creation would be able to touch the hearts of the audience. Please watch out for it.
~ The End ~
From “Talk Session 1″ published in the 2010 NHK Ryomaden Special (Book 1) issued 2009.12.19
*1. Chogokin 超合金 or “super alloy” is the name of die-cast metal robot and character toys sold in Japan. A selection was re-released in the United States under the name Shogun Warriors by Mattel and Godaikin by Bandai America - more info
*2. Sengoku (戦国 warring states) - more info
*3. Hagetaka ハゲタカ was a business drama aired between 2007.02.17 to 2007.03.24 - more info