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Shion Sono reveals apprehension about new film “The Whispering Star”—”They’ll tell me I’ve gone to another dimension”


©2015 TIFF

Director Shion Sono’s film LOVE & PEACE, starring Hiroki Hasegawa, was screened on October 23 as part of the Japan Now section in the ongoing 28th Tokyo International Film Festival. Director Sono made an appearance at the Shinjuku Piccadilly screening to participate in a Q&A.
The film follows Ryoichi Suzuki, a failed rock musician who now livhttp://2015.tiff-jp.net/news/en/?p=9993&preview=truees out monotonous days as a salary-man, but who one day finds a small turtle named “Pikadon” that changes his life. The screenplay for the film was written by Sono 25 years ago, and he said of the delay, “I finished the screenplay and was searching for a producer, but I just couldn’t find the right person. So it took a while.” Reflecting back on those long years, he said, “All the while, I was afraid that a similar film would come out, like Toy Story, or Babe.”
On the other hand, he said, the casting went smoothly. “When I gave the script to actor Toshiyuki Nishida, he got back to me so fast I thought, ‘Did you even have time to read it?’” But the reason for the fast decision delighted him. “Nishida said he saw The Land of Hope and, as someone from Fukushima, was really grateful for the film. He had decided that, if he ever got an offer from me, he’d take it.”
At the Q&A, enthusiastic fans of Sono had their moment to challenge the director. To the question, “Over the years, don’t you think your literary style has become weaker?”, director Sono replied emphatically, “I don’t want to repeat the same things. I think it’s more like me to rebel against expectations people have about ‘what Shion Sono would do’. I don’t want to copy my previous works.” He then made the audience laugh with some self-deprecating humour. “But for my next film, The Whispering Star, I bet I’ll be told, ‘Shion Sono, where are you going?! You’ve gone to a different dimension.’”
Upon hearing from the crowd, “The turtle was really cute!” Sono laughed, “At the audition, I chose the turtle with the most acting talent.” He continued joking with the crowd, saying, “There was a main turtle and stuntman turtles—five turtles all together. The main turtle also appears in The Whispering Star. He’s become a regular part of the Sono crew.”
The 28th Tokyo International Film Festival runs until October 31, with screenings taking place at TIFF’s main venue at Roppongi Hills, as well as Shinjuku WALD9, Shinjuku Piccadilly, and TOHO CINEMAS Shinjuku, and other facilities. The Whispering Star is scheduled for release nationwide in 2016.

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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)