Playback ’13] Masato Sakai of “VIVANT” shows “surprising behavior” on the set of “Hanzawa Naoki”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Playback ’13] Masato Sakai of “VIVANT” shows “surprising behavior” on the set of “Hanzawa Naoki”.

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When the camera stops, he smiles for a change. Even when it is hot or busy, the fact that she never stops smiling is still a big deal (photo taken in ’13).

What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, or 30 years ago? We take a look back at the topics that were hot at the time in “Playback Friday”. This time, we bring you “Masato Sakai of ‘Naoki Hanzawa’ Already Preparing for the Next Episode on Location,” which appeared in the September 6, 2001 issue 10 years ago.

On September 17, TBS Sunday theater “VIVANT” regrettably reached its final episode. It was a milestone in drama in every respect, with a star-studded cast of actors in leading roles, an unparalleled scale for a drama that was shot on location in Mongolia for two and a half months, and an “examination” element that kept viewers engrossed in the story. Masato Sakai, who played the main character, Yusuke Nogi, played the difficult role of a seemingly good-natured and somewhat unreliable trading company man who is in fact a ruthless member of a “separate squad” that carries out missions. Ten years ago, he was also in the middle of filming “Hanzawa Naoki,” a drama series that had Japan in a frenzy.

The office district of Otemachi, Tokyo, was deserted at night during the Obon vacations, and it was on location for the hit drama “Hanzawa Naoki” (TBS), which enjoyed an instant viewership rating of more than 30%.

The car in which Masato Sakai (39 at the time) was riding was parked at the scene, but there was no sign of him getting out of the car, as if he had not finished preparing for the location shoot. A closer look revealed that he was reading the script with the room lamp on in the car. I was surprised to see that he was not holding a script for “Hanzawa” but for “Legal High” (Fuji Television).

In fact, Sakai was set to play the lead role in “Legal High,” which will start in October. Like “Hanzawa,” “Regal High” featured scenes in which Sakai delivered long lines at a rapid pace. However, even though Sakai is known for his acting ability, we wondered if he would get bogged down if he read the script of another drama just before the actual performance. ……

However, despite our concerns, Sakai instantly assumed a “Hanzawa” expression as soon as the production began. Filming proceeded smoothly, and the actor finished shooting a scene on the street in about 20 minutes with Kenichi Takito (36, at the time), who was to get his breakthrough role as Kondo Naosuke, Hanzawa’s classmate.

At the time, the ratings for “Hanzawa” were higher than expected, so the broadcast hours were hastily expanded, and the filming went on from early morning to late at night every day. Sakai spent every spare moment checking the script in preparation for his next film, which had to be cut short for this reason.

Hanzawa” recorded a 42.2% viewer rating for its final episode, making it the number one commercial TV drama of the Heisei era, and its second production seven years later in 2008 was also a big hit, leading to “VIVANT” three years later.

Sakai reading the script for “Legal High” in the car. He was experimenting with various facial expressions while saying his lines (August ’13).
  • PHOTO Sota Shima

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