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“KAMIKAZE TAXI” Director Masato Harada has an aspiration of remaking in line with times in future!


©2015 TIFF

Award-winning director Masato Harada’s 1995 classic KAMIKAZE TAXI was screened on October 24 at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival, as part of the Japan Now section’s first-ever “Director in Focus”. Leading actor Kazuya Takahashi joined Harada for the event, held at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Piccadilly.

Takahashi starred together with actor Koji Yakusho as a young thug on the run from his gang, and the Japanese-Peruvian taxi driver who picks him up. One fan, who 21 years ago attended the film’s world premier at Shibuya Pantheon, asked the director if he’s planning a sequel. “For Yakusho, the role of Kantake is sacred ground, and I haven’t been able to get him on board with the idea,” Harada explained. “I personally thought that, if there was a sequel, it would have to be filmed in Peru. If that’s the case, then I adapted the story into the 2013 film RETURN (Hard Version).” Harada confirmed that he is interested in continuing with KAMIKAZE TAXI, however. “Today, having appreciated the film again, I think I’d rather remake it than make a sequel. I want to use young actors and make a KAMIKAZE TAXI that’s in line with the current times.”

Takahashi gained popularity when he was 25 years old as part of rock band “Otokogumi” (dissolved in 1993). In this film, he challenged the love scene. The part was offered to him just one week before the scheduled start of shooting, and Harada explained how “he had to learn his lines quickly, then we rehearsed right away.” Takahashi continued, “In the afternoons I’d be on stage at the theater, and at night I’d rush to the shoot. I started out having absolutely no idea what I was doing, but over a number of shoots I was able to get a grasp on the character.” He reflected back emotionally, “When I read the script I thought it was amazing, so even if it was tough on my body at the theater, even if I had to get naked, no matter what—I wanted to play that role.”

Mickey Curtis, who played boss Animaru, and Reiko Kataoka, who played girlfriend Tama, also made a special guest appearance at the event. “At the time, someone else was supposed to play Animaru,” mentioned Curtis. Harada explained that actor Rikiya Yasuoka was supposed to take the part, but had to drop out because of scheduling conflicts. The role was given to Curtis because of his enthusiasm for the part. “It was rough, I learned how to play the saxophone in just one night,” Curtis admitted. Harada pointed out, “Didn’t you say you knew how to play the sax before the filming?” To which Curtis confessed playfully, “If I didn’t say I could play, you wouldn’t have picked me. So I lied.”

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KEIRIN.JPThe 28th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
27th Tokyo International Film Festival(2014)