INT: Casshern's director
One of the major upsides to running a popular movie fansite like JoBlo.com is that folks in the industry (movers and shakers, if you will) also read our site and communicate with us like everyday people (which, as it turns out...they are!) So when I was looking for more info on this damn cool looking Japanese movie called CASSHERN recently, it was nice to receive an email from the director himself, who was more than happy to indulge me with a few basic questions about his film for our audience. For anyone who has yet to check out a glimpse of this film, click here to watch its trailer. By the way, as opposed to what was initially reported on our site, the film's actual budget was only US $6 million. Wow. Looks pretty good, dude. Thanks to Mr. Kiriya for taking the time to shoot the shit with us and all the best with the film!
What does CASSHERN mean?
It is the name of the main character. It has absolutely no meaning, according to the original maker: Tatsunoko Production (they made Speed Racer)
How long did it take for you to film this movie? What was its budget?
Two months for the shoot and 6 months for the post-production. It was really intense, because we only had 6 million dollars to finish 160 scenes and 3000 cuts.
How many minutes is the film?
140 minutes (including the end credits)
Has CASSHERN been picked up for a North American distribution yet? If so, by whom and when can we expect to see it here?
No. The 20 minute version was showcased last month in America, but the final version was never shown. It wasn't even finished then.
What kind of American rating do you think would be placed on this movie? PG-13? R? NC-17? Is there a lot of violence?
I believe PG-13. It is violent, but not graphic. Also, the story is a little complex and heavy for little kids.
What manga movies, or films in general, influenced your creation of this one?
We took a lot of visual references from the
Russian Avant Garde. We
wanted to create a flat 2-D world, intentionally ignoring the perspectives (like anime). Also, one of our art directors is Haruhiko
Shono, who created the CD-ROM movie GADGET. His vision was truly instrumental. Also the storyboard for the action sequence was created by Shinji Higuchi who was involved in making EVANGELION.
Who are some of your favorite movie directors?
Too many to answer: Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki, Terrence Malick, Lars Von Trier, Stanley Kubrick, etc.
Your movie's visual style is very distinct. What type of processes allowed you to achieve its look? CGI? Matte paintings? A superb cinematographer?
Combination of all. We have a really strong art
post-production team. We work seamlessly, almost like a family.
Also, the cinematographer is myself. I shot about 90% of this movie
and do all the color corrections and finishings. We tried really
downgrade the "DIGITAL" feel to achieve the retro look. We didn't want anything slick. We also made sure that our staff liked what we did.
How would you describe your film? Science-Fiction? Action? Drama? Everything?
It really is a human drama, based loosely on Shakespeare's Hamlet.
How long before Hollywood buys the rights to your movie, casts a bunch of hot "teen" stars in it and releases it as a sub-par "remake" for the American masses? Hehehe...
To tell you the truth, I am really surprised by
the reactions we are
getting from the international audiences. I'm even beginning to think
that the trailer was misleading. You might be disappointed if you are
expecting a feel good action movie.
What did you think of the three MATRIX movies?
I never watched the third one (I just didn't
have the time because I
was making CASSHERN) I liked the first one a lot.
This was your first full-length feature
film. What is your next project?
I have about 10 movie ideas now. It all depends on how well CASSHERN does.