He said, “The stakes are always high, but if you are convinced that the whole thing is going in the right direction, then you should move on. But if you are sure that the whole project is moving in the right direction, you should make your own move. Even if you lose money.
Actor Osawa Takao (55) speaks in a soft and polite tone, but his gaze is piercingly strong. Osawa starred in and produced the movie “The Armada of Silence,” which will be released on September 29. Although he has directed and written screenplays for films in which he has appeared, this is the first time he is listed in the credits as a producer.
He said, “It’s interesting to have an actor like me on the producing side. I think there has to be a surprise. I want to entertain and surprise the audience. This time, I have the title of producer, but to be honest, I am not particular about the title. When I participate in a film, I think of it as a concerted effort by everyone involved.
Osawa asserts, “A movie has to be exciting. Naturally, the films he is involved in are big productions that require a lot of work in terms of filming and preparation.
For the movie “Lion Standing in the Wind,” which was released eight years ago, I spent five years working with Masashi Sada-san, starting from the point where I asked him to adapt Sada-san’s song of the same title into a novel. At that time, I asked him not to mention my name with the title of producer. It must have been difficult for my co-stars to see an actor as a producer (laughs). For “Silence of the Fleet,” I did everything from planning and finding investors to meeting with the original author, Kaiji Kawaguchi, and obtaining cooperation from the Ministry of Defense, leaving the script and casting to the professionals.
He has been fighting alone to create something interesting, but as the scale of his work grew, he began to feel a limit to what he could do.
I am not a producer by nature. Everyone has talents that I don’t have, and it’s better to make the best use of each person’s strengths. I couldn’t think like this in the past, but I have become more flexible. I have experienced hurdles that can only be overcome if we all work together in a scrum. Our approach may have changed, but our desire to create something good has not changed a millimeter in 30 years.
I really don’t like pressure.”
Although Osawa says that his day job is to be an actor, he seems to have a rather dry stance toward his own acting.
He says, “This may be misleading, but I actually don’t like acting that much. I still don’t know what a really good play is. I may think a scene is a smiley scene, but if the director says it’s a sad scene, that’s fine. Even if it’s my idea of the work, as long as the final result matches the true meaning of the work, it’s fine. In my latest work, “The Armada of Silence,” I play Shiro Kaieda, the immobile submarine captain who stands tall and imposing, but I restrained my movements on the director’s order. Before he told me to do so, I was ready to move (laughs).
After 30 years of acting, Osawa has been given more and more key roles, including that of General Wang Ki in the movie “Kingdom. In fact, he was sometimes told by the producer, “Your role is the most important to make this film work.
I really don’t like being under pressure. I really don’t like being under pressure. I sincerely think it is the worst (laughs). (Laughs.) But that’s the best and the worst of it. By challenging myself, I can create a work that everyone will be happy with. If it were easy for me to make something interesting, that would be better, of course. But it’s not that easy. That is my purpose in life and my bread and butter. Since my debut, I have always felt that it is my role to produce results as a business.
During the interview, Osawa’s dryness and flexibility surprised us when he casually stated, “If I had a job that was more fun and more profitable than acting, I would probably go there. However, when we open the door, we find that his films are always accompanied by tough challenges, such as a drastic body transformation of about 20 kg, and all-night shoots to ensure the best locations.
I can only act,” he says. I can’t write, I can’t do anything else. I have to walk on a precipice to make the audience happy. I don’t want people to think, “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here” as I take on new challenges. I’m sure they already think that (laughs). Even if conservative people don’t like it, it’s more fun to do something new.
Behind the scenes of a blockbuster film worth seeing, the dependability of a lightweight and flexible veteran actor may be indispensable.
From “FRIDAY” October 13 and 20, 2023 issue
PHOTO： Shinji Hamasaki, Toho (photo from the film)