In “VIVANT” (TBS), which is dominating the summer drama scene, Tomiei Drum (31) is giving a good performance against big-name actors such as Masato Sakai (49) and Hiroshi Abe (59).
The decision to use Tomiei was made at the push of Katsuo Fukuzawa, 59, who wrote and directed “VIVANT,” which will be his last film as a TBS employee due to his retirement. Tomiei stepped in the ring for the first time as a rikishi in ’08 and retired in ’21. After that, he turned into a YouTube star, using his lightweight ability to backflip as a weapon. This year, he attracted attention when he appeared as a sumo wrestler in “Sanctuary,” a popular film distributed on Netflix,” said a TV magazine editor.
This summer’s dramas have been marked by the selection of actors who have made their presence felt in distribution and single-theater films for important supporting roles. For example, “Hayabusa Fire Brigade” (TV Asahi). Wataru Ichinose (38), who starred in “Sanctuary,” was cast in a key role in the film.
Sanctuary” is about a closed-off corner of the world, so we spent a lot of time auditioning and creating the role, and there was a lot of talk about this film in the industry even before distribution began. In fact, once the film was distributed, it became a hot topic at various TV stations, and TV Asahi decided to use it.
Wan Marui (25), who plays the role of the manager of a big-name actress impersonated by Mayumi Wakamura (56) in “This Wonderful World” (Fuji TV), starred in the movie “MONDAYS” released last year and was praised by some as an upcoming breakout star. Eni is an actor who has been working in the terrestrial world for a number of years.
Eni has only played minor roles in terrestrial TV dramas so far, so viewers are not yet impressed by any of his works. She has not yet made an impression on viewers, and her role in “This Wonderful World” has added a nice spice to the drama. All stations would love to have an actor like her who has no color and a sense of stability,” said a producer at a key station.
The summer season is said to be the season that makes viewership ratings cry, as home ratings drop due to long vacations such as the Bon Festival and summer vacation. In particular, this year, when the new coronavirus was classified as a type 5 virus and the restrictions on activities were abolished, “we were expecting a drop in home ratings, as if to relieve the depression of the past few years, so all the stations are taking the plunge into challenging casting,” says a producer mentioned earlier.
With the establishment of the “missed drama” service, each station has increased the number of drama slots that are easy to monetize, and byplayers are also competing with each other.
In the case of “VIVANT,” Takaya Sakoda (46), who played Sakai’s colleague, is a hot favorite. He has played the role of a mastermind in various works, so when he appeared in the first episode of “VIVANT,” viewers were excited, saying, “There must be something behind it. This situation has also encouraged this summer’s challenging casting.
Even with the popularity of the subscription service, many stations do not have the time or money to hold auditions for every drama they produce. A well-distributed film or movie that has been well talked about is easier to convince sponsors to go along.”
On the other hand, “The main cast members are still selected based on their achievements and name recognition. No auditions are held, so we cannot expect big selections of unknown actors in terrestrial drama productions”.
Will “stars from TV” become a dead word?
From the September 8, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Takero Yui