I can’t speak English (blushing)
That’s okay! If you feel comfortable, go ahead, but if you want to just listen and then have her answer, that’s fine too! ^ How are you? I am good! (He sort of leans in towards the tape recorder)
It’s ok! Never mind the tape recorder…just pretend it isn’t there. Are you excited about the success of Ju-On in the States? ^ Yeah, I am happy.
How do you feel about the success of Asian horror films in the United States in general? You know, with “Ringu”, Takashi Miike films, Battle Royale, why do you think particularly Japanese horror films are so popular here now? ^ I am really happy about all the success of Japanese films in general, in America, like Hong Kong movies, their origin is Kung Fu, but until the success of Japanese films now, we didn’t have any originality or particular stuff we can sell in America, but now because of the success of The Ring, “Ju-On” and Takashi Miike’s movies, we feel like we can sell Japanese movies as horror movies as a weapon. So I am really happy with all the success of Japanese horror films.
Are you interested in creating and directing only horror films? ^ Of course I love horror movies. Since I was in junior high I couldn’t see horror movies because I was too scared, but I still love them. I would also love to make comedies. I am not sure about love stories, but I want to make a lot of different things other than horror movies. But I became successful because my first short film was a horror movie, so I became successful with that so I became a horror director. And of course, I love them, horror movies. But I want to direct a lot of different stuff.
You’re doing a remake of the film with Sarah Michelle Gellar. There are so many Asian horror films that get remade here. Why is everybody doing that? Is it because Americans just can’t read subtitles? ^ I think part of the reason for the remake versions is because Americans are not used to reading subtitles when they are watching movies. Also, at the same time, of course there are lots of Hollywood movies which are great, but right now I think they are running out of new ideas, that’s why there are openings for films from other countries to come into America because Asian movies are new to America, adding new taste and new ideas to the American market. I think this trend is really good for the time being, but if it does continue it is going to be not so good, because then we tend to depend on the ideas already there which are successful…and keep making remakes to make money. But then, if we keep doing that we will run out of new ideas also.
Lets talk new version of “The Grudge”. It’s the first time you’ve worked with American actors and crew. Do you find that there is a language barrier that makes directing a lot more difficult? ^ There was a big language barrier when shooting the American version with American actors. But I feel like it is my duty to study English harder, so I can communicate better with actors in America if I am going to make American movies here. It was also a big challenge, because there is also a cultural difference. It was a challenge, but also I had a lot of fun, because it was a challenge. Making a remake of my original movie was a big challenge and also fun, that’s why I took the offer to direct.
How different is the script, the American script from the Japanese script, and how did you shoot it differently, or did you? Is it the same story? ^ Basic story is the same, but not completely the same. I also worked with American scriptwriter to make it fresh and add fresh refreshing taste to it. But it isn’t that great of a difference, it’s a little slight difference.
This is something I am really interested in right now so I am going to ask you. How do you feel about violence towards women in horror films, and how do you justify using it in your films, or do you decide to not use it sometimes? ^ Usually I don’t have any definite line between what I want to shoot and what I don’t want to, as far as violence. But I feel like regular people want to see women scared more than men being scared on the films, and also, I am not pro-violence or anything. And I don’t like just plain unpleasantness or just plain painful stuff. I love more psychological thriller scare. It doesn’t have to be people being dead and people being killed. Even though there are no dead people being killed, as long it is psychologically scary, that works for me.
Posted on August 3, 2004 in Interviews by Heidi Martinuzzi
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- THE GRUDGE OF TAKASHI SHIMIZU
- SUNDANCE HOSTS HORROR
- THE GRUDGE
- JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (DVD)
- SEVEN DAYS IN JAPAN
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