Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tokyo! Sneak Preview at the Egyptian with Michel Gondry & Akyako Fujitani In Person

The Sneak Preview of TOKYO! at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood last night turned out to be a real treat with a surprise appearance by Michel Gondry who directed the triptych films' segment "Interior Design" starring Ayako Fujitani (pictured here with Gondry). Gondry is in town meeting with the studio about his next film, so he was able to attend the screening which was as much a multi-national collaboration as the film itself. Members of the American Cinematheque joined with Giant Robot Magazine, The French Film & TV Office, the Japanese American Cultural Community Center and the Korean Cultural Center to present TOKYO!

Henry Rollins
made the screening as well. Akyao brought her digital camera (a German/Japanese collaboration she explained) that looks like an old view camera which was a big hit with the photographers shooting her. Pre-screening activities included a Giant Robot t-shirt giveaway and an intro by Gondry in which he quoted Carax (one of his co-directors) as starting screenings by saying, "I doubt you will like it." He also let everyone know that TOKYO! brought in the highest per screen average in the country when it opened in New York this past weekend - outgrossing studio blockbuster WATCHMEN since the latter was open on thousands of screens nationwide and TOKYO! on just one in New York. Actress and Director stuck around for a lengthy discussion after the film. They spoke about the casting: Ayako recalled Gondry saying he "was tired of looking at pretty girls" when he found her. Looking pretty radiant herself, Ayako spoke about cutting her teeth as a child and teen on Gamera and other monster movies and doing physical acting for the benefit of special effects, including wearing a fair amount of blue screen on her person! Gondry recalled casting Ayako's boyfriend in the movie, a cocky ex-boy band member who he had to bring down to size when he met Ryo and his entourage for the first time. He says the filmmaker character Ryo Kase portrays is not at all based on him, but Ayako said that the joke on the set was that the young actor was trying to imitate some of Gondry's traits as a director to bring into his role as an ambitious young filmmaker. Differences in shooting in Japan? Gondry recalled a blessing ritual that began production. Following the discussion the audience was treated to Sapporo beer and a chance to talk about which segment of the three they liked best - Gondry's tale of the metamorphosis of a young woman who can't seem to find her place in Tokyo!, Leos Carax' story of a madman terrorizing Tokyo - or Bong Joon-ho's fable about a young man who lives as a shut in, but is forced out of his house after ten years to find the woman he thinks he can love. TOKYO! opens on March 20th in Los Angeles and many other cities as well. www.tokyothemovie.com

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