If You Don’t Take Comedies Seriously, They Aren’t Funny

About the kaiju allegation, Japanese politicians, the casting of the two films, meeting Mark Schilling, the Japanese film industry, and other topics.

Satoshi Miki started out as a writer for popular TV shows, one of which is legendary in Japan. He then began directing stage plays and expanded into TV dramas and films. His style of leadership is his good humor and urban style, where parts and dialogues are developed and combined into a story. His first film “In the Pool” (’05) and his second feature “Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers” were released theatrically in 2005. ” and his collaboration with Mark Schilling, “Convenience Story ”.

During the second shoot at Fantasia, we spoke to him about the appeal of kaiju films, Japanese politics, the casting of both films, joining Mark Schilling, the Japanese film industry, and other topics.

Why do you think people still like to watch movies about kaiju?

Usually in these movies, you see people fighting monsters, but in my movie, you see what happens after the monster is defeated and that’s why it feels so good. People are interested in my film.

“What’s up with the Dead Kaiju?” shows how Japanese politicians only care about themselves and their business. Is that how you really feel about them?

When I started making the film, it was after the Fukushima disaster and now we have the Covid crisis. When I watched them on TV at the time, and I’m sorry, but I got a stupid vibe, like they weren’t trying. Are Greek politicians the same?

Yes. (laughs) I think most politicians are more or less the same.

The movie revolves around a love triangle between Arata, Yukino and Masahiko. Why did you choose to include that character in a kaiju movie?

I thought it would be more interesting and I am currently reading The Great Gatsby, which inspired me to include my writing.

Can you tell us a little about the casting of Ryosuke Yamada in the film?

The first reason I chose Ryosuke Yamada is because he doesn’t have a strong or macho image and in this movie he is in a dangerous situation, and we like this kind of group in Japan. For example, if you have a simple scene and you have Bruce Willis to act with it, you will have the same vibe, won’t you? (laughter)

“What’s up with the Dead Kaiju?” and “Convenience Store” are very different films in terms of size and production and style in general. Was it difficult to transition from one to the other?

They both share the same principle, both are jokes and the only difference is the joke. No problem, no confusion on my end. I shot them separately, but as you can see, tokusatsu movies have a lot of comedy and drama, that’s what makes them so fun and I think about “Convenience Store” . To me, it’s the same, there is no big difference between them.

Can you tell us a little about your collaboration with Mark Schilling on the script for “Convenience Store”?

As you can see, Mark Schilling is an American, and he has a really unique perspective on Japanese convenience stores that Japanese people can’t find. When we look at it, we don’t see the same behavior that he did, and that’s what we tried to put into the film.

Was Ryo Narita’s character in the film, Kato, inspired by people in the industry that you actually knew?

He’s like me in some ways, I also write scripts, so I want to show some of the problems that come with working through him.

What was your reason for the film’s appearance?

I wanted to have an old movie style and I was very inspired by the noir movies of the 50s. For example, in the first scene, we see something that could have been shot 60 years ago.

Do you think comedy is the best way to make social points in film?

Yes. If you don’t take jokes seriously, they’re not funny. What I love most about comedies are the things you take away with you after you watch the movie.

Have you ever wanted to shoot a real drama?

Of course, that was my goal from the beginning, to make a very dramatic film.

Can you give us some details about the cast of Convenience Story?

At first I was looking for someone who could be in a slice of life kind of movie, in a normal situation. And about Atsuko Maeda, I chose her because I want something that makes the viewer think about them, whether they are dead or alive. And Atsuko Maeda is an idol and she has this quality that she might die and you won’t know. Since you are a Greek, you will understand that I want a person to have a Hades type.

To go back a bit, since “Instant Swamp” is one of my favorite Japanese movies, can you tell us where that crazy idea for a movie came from?

When I was little, in order to build houses, we often had to fill with rubbish. Sometimes, when we do, there are big fish that come out. That’s where the idea came from (laughs).

What do you think about the current Japanese film industry?

I think most normal people go to see normal movies and have normal feelings like moving. So, these classic movies make a lot of money and I think because of these classic movies, I can do other movies.

But what do people generally think of your films?

It’s half love and half hate, and that’s what makes me so happy.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

i don’t. But when I get a new inspiration, I will shoot another film. Maybe if Greek people start saying good things about my movie, I can shoot another one (laughs)

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