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Lumberjack The Monster - TIFF 2023

The film "Lumberjack The Monster" had its domestic premiere on October 31st at the 36th Tokyo International Film Festival. A stage greeting occurred at TOHO Cinemas Hibiya in Tokyo, featuring the cast, which included Kazuya Kamenashi (from KAT-TUN), Nanao, Riho Yoshioka, Shota Someya, Shido Nakamura, and director Takashi Miike.

©2023TIFF

This film, an adaptation of Misuke Kurai's novel of the same name, is a suspense thriller that confronts Niemi, a lawyer with a cold-blooded and ruthless psychopathic side, and a serial killer who conceals their identity with a monster mask. Kamenashi portrays Niemi, Nanao embodies Arashiko Toshiki, a profiler from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Yoshioka portrays Eimi Katami, Niemi's fiancée deeply troubled by her father's mysterious death, Someya takes on the role of the psychopathic doctor Kuro Sugiya, and Nakamura assumes the character of Takeshi Kenshi, a suspect in a past murder case.


Amidst an audience wearing "monster masks," the cast and director made their entrance through the audience aisles. Given that it was October 31st and Halloween, they all greeted the audience with a cheerful "Happy Halloween!"

©2023TIFF

Kamenashi and Nanao, who have worked together three times previously, expressed their mutual trust and enjoyment of working together. Kamenashi noted Nanao's versatility in playing different characters in various works and praised her for taking on such a terrifying character in this film. In response, Nanao expressed her admiration for Kamenashi's growth as an actor. When asked about his future plans, Kamenashi mentioned that he had started a YouTube and Instagram account and humorously admitted he still doesn't know where he's heading.


©2023TIFF

Yoshioka, working with Kamenashi for the first time, initially gave him a soft impression based on advertisements. However, Kamenashi discovered her strong and professional demeanor on set. He praised her for her determination and craftsmanship. Regarding Someya, Kamenashi admired his presence both on and off-screen. Despite only two days of shooting, Someya left a significant impact, which Kamenashi appreciated and learned from.


While it was their first on-screen collaboration, Kamenashi and Nakamura had known each other personally. They shared a humorous moment discussing their working relationship. Kamenashi acknowledged the challenge of their roles but expressed gratitude for Nakamura's support. Nakamura, with his dry humor, teased Kamenashi about making him wait for 30 minutes when he returned to say goodbye on the last day of filming. In response, Kamenashi humorously blamed the director.


Yoshioka shared an amusing behind-the-scenes anecdote about her first day on set, mentioning that she was given a muzzle to wear, leading to some embarrassing moments. Director Takashi Miike described the intense focus and dedication of the cast, noting each actor's deep understanding of their characters' emotions and motivations. He also playfully teased Nakamura, referring to him as "flat" in terms of his approach to the role.


Someya, who had many one-on-one scenes with Kamenashi, praised their collaborative process and the enjoyable tension they created on set. They both commended each other's ability to adapt and create unique moments during their scenes.


As the conversation turned to Halloween memories, Kamenashi shared his tradition of carving pumpkin faces every year. Nanao and Someya explained that, as actors, their daily costume changes for their roles had diminished their enthusiasm for Halloween costumes. Yoshioka recounted her experience of Halloween in New York but confessed she didn't dress up. Kamenashi humorously asked if she went as a fox, referencing a character she portrayed in a commercial.


In conclusion, Kamenashi encouraged the audience to watch the film, emphasizing that the director handled the violent scenes with care and urged viewers to look beyond the surface and understand the deeper message of the story. "Lumberjack The Monster" will be released nationwide in Japan starting from December 1st.




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