One morning in November, when the mornings and evenings were getting colder, I encountered Haruka Ayase, 36, in the city center, waiting at a traffic light with a dignified expression on her face.
With a pocket warmer around her neck and leg warmers on her feet, she was fully prepared for the cold. When the traffic light turned green, she moved directly to the bridge near the station.
Location buses and trucks loaded with filming equipment were parked around us. It looked like filming was about to begin. In the hands of a man who looked like a staff member having a meeting nearby, he was holding what looked like a simple script made of stapled A4 paper with the words “New Year SP Drama” printed on it.
Ayase, a hard-bitten career woman, marries Yutaka Takenouchi (50), a widower. It is probably a New Year’s special of the popular drama “My Mother-in-law and Her Daughter’s Blues” (a.k.a. GIBOMUSU, TBS), which depicts Ayase’s growth as a mother-in-law to her daughter (Moka Kamishiraishi, 21). Last year, a New Year’s special was also aired on New Year’s Day,” says a reporter from a TV magazine.
As soon as Ayase arrived at the location on the bridge, she immediately participated in the test shooting. She handed over her ground coat to the staff, took off her leg warmers, turned into a woman in a suit with glasses, and walked briskly on the bridge with an attache case in her hand with a crisp expression. After a while, she does a big sneeze and looks up at a nearby building (see photo below).
The temperature must be quite cold, less than 10 degrees Celsius, but Ayase smiles at the crew every time the camera cuts.
Since the shooting took place during the rush hour of commuting, the area around the station was packed with office workers, office ladies, and students, and the crew worked hard to control the traffic.
While some were admiring the dignified Ayase, others were yelling at her, “You’re in my way! It was chaos, but Ayase didn’t seem to be upset in the slightest. Before the call for the start of the show, she quickly fixed her glasses with her fingers and tightened her gentle face. Some people said it would be a long shoot, but thanks to Ayase’s hard work, the shoot was over in about two hours.
Although the number of people infected with corona is decreasing, the infection control manual for the drama has not been changed from the one declared under the state of emergency. The actors are actually more cautious than the staff. If they were to become infected under these circumstances, it would make them stand out.
Even Ayase, who was very popular, was hospitalized after being infected, and she was bashed on the Internet, saying, “Entertainers are high-class people, so they were able to be hospitalized right away. It is said that the start of the period drama in which she co-stars with Takuya Kimura (49) was delayed by about two weeks due to Ayase’s corona infection. I think she’s desperate to get back on track,” said a senior executive at an entertainment company.
Behind the big hustle was Ayase’s typical sense of responsibility.
From “FRIDAY” December 03, 2021 issue
Cinematography by： Yusuke Kondo