A seemingly happy couple in their fourth year of marriage. However, her wife, who was dissatisfied with her insensitive husband, wrote “husband death note” on SNS. A little scary comedy “Don’t Eat Dogs, but Charlie Laughs”, depicting the emotional misunderstandings between a man and a woman and an epic marital quarrel.StarringShingo Katoriand the director/screenwriterMasahide IchiiThe encounter was a relationship between a jury and an exhibitor at a certain film festival.
14 years later, the two reunite as if destined to lead them. We asked him to tell us a lot about the behind the scenes of the movie he finally made.
“To be able to make a movie together with the director at that time.”
―The two of you met at the Pia Film Festival (PFF) in 2008 as a judge and the Grand Prix winner of the PFF Award (“Unprotected”). Do you have any memories of that time?
marketplace: I talked about it when I won the award and took the stage. I remember being very happy when Mr. Katori told me, “You’re the same age.”
marketplace: Didn’t you remember? (laughs) When I shook hands with Katori-san, I really remember the feeling of his warm hand.
Katori: I remember being a little nervous about being a judge. It was my first time and I knew how important judging was, so I watched all the films very seriously. I felt nervous when I was watching it. At that time, I thought that if I chose it, that person’s life would surely change. I knew how important it was, even though it was my first job, and I was happy that the director’s work I thought was “this person” won the award. That was Director Ichii. To be able to make a movie together with someone you thought would change your life is like a miracle.
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Two days on 9/26 (Mon) and 9/27 (Tue)
The latest work “I don’t eat dogs, but Charlie laughs” will be released this fall! !
An actor workshop will be held by Director Masahide Ichii✨
Please join us.
For details and application, please visit this site 👇 https://t.co/YFrZWBJFtN pic.twitter.com/rv3yQPDhEw
— ENBU Seminar (@enbuzemi) August 23, 2022
―For Director Ichii, wasn’t Katori a special person?
marketplace:It is just like you said. From that time on, when I was chatting with his wife, if Shingo-san were to appear in my movie, I would like him to play a role that shows his weaknesses, not a character, but a mediocre and pathetic one. We talked often. This time, I had a feeling that the timing had come sooner than I thought. During the filming, something like a switch as a director comes in, but when I’m with Mr. Katori like now, I still feel like I’m fluffy. I honestly thought it was a dream.
Katori: But I feel the same way. This is because when it comes to movies and acting, I also feel like I can switch on, or rather, I participate with the feeling that “the director is the head”, so I try to do what the director says as much as possible. From my point of view, Director Ichii was the head of this shoot. So during filming, I didn’t even think about memories of the Pia Film Festival. Of course, there is also the connection, but it is because I was allowed to work as a director this time.
But now, when I think about it again at this time and think, “Yes, it was the director at that time,” it really feels like a miracle. I think that’s what happens. I thought that my one vote could change someone’s life, but it’s amazing that I can meet people here in such a way.
marketplace: Yes, really.
“People don’t understand unless they say it. Putting it into words is important.”
―While there are some people who won the Grand Prix at the PFF Awards but did not become professional film directors, I think it is certainly rare to create an original work together like this.
marketplace: I think it’s because I’m really stubborn, or I was stubborn. After thinking about it, even if I won the Grand Prix, I wouldn’t be able to make a movie for about five years after that.
Katori:Is that so.
marketplace: For five years, I felt like a self-proclaimed film director. Just write a script and work part-time.
Katori: Thinking about it now, what do you think that time was? Even if you won the Grand Prix, when you tried to make a movie, there was a time when you couldn’t make a movie.
marketplace: There was a part where the plan simply didn’t go through, but looking back now, I don’t think I had a firm idea of “I want to make a movie with this kind of feeling”. Now that I think about it, yes. When I came up with the plan, I had the feeling that “this is going to work”. In that sense, I think that the texture of the work that was selected for the Grand Prix, “Unprotected,” and the texture of “Charlie laughs even if he doesn’t eat dogs,” are very different.
Katori: Yeah, no.
marketplace:Both films depict everyday life, or what can happen around them. But it took me a long time to solidify my style.
―I heard that Director Ichii had Katori-san write about his insensitive husband, Yujiro. What did Katori-san think of Yujiro?
Katori: I’m a good guy (laughs), so I thought I was a really bad guy. People don’t “understand without saying”, they don’t understand unless they say. I think it’s important to put it into words. Lovers, friends, workplaces, in various places, “I want to do this, what do you think?”, “Is it right for me now?” . Quite often, I keep it in mind at work. “How is it now? Is this okay?” When I do that, the real intention comes out, “I think it’s okay, but…”, and that’s an interesting opinion. I myself have had more successful experiences when I said something, and there have been failures where I thought, “I wish I had said something”, so I try to say it out loud.
If Yujiro and Hiyori didn’t do that, it would be like this. He feels like he can only see himself. He says more, he doesn’t even see himself. I feel like he’s living without being able to see anything (laughs).
marketplace: Really, yes.
Katori: It seems that the director is angry with me (laughs).
marketplace: Because it’s an original, I think Yujiro has a lot of me in it. That’s why I can’t hate Yujiro so much. I know it’s no good. No, I was really scolded just now (laughs).
🦉 『#Dogs don’t eat but Charlie laughs』
＼ The paperback book is on sale today 📙✨
— Official movie “Don’t eat dogs but Charlie laughs” (@inucha2022) September 6, 2022
“Inagaki-san, Kusanagi-san, and Katori-san have a sense of husband and wife.”
―Did you make any adjustments to play such a useless man?
Katori: There may have been a feeling of “shifting” as a whole. With my experience so far, I can do it comfortably, or I can find the tempo of the correct lines before I know it, but I might have been trying to shift it.
Katori: That may be connected to the rawness that everyday conversations don’t progress like dramas. For example, if you are arguing about a line, you try to say it on the spot, but you can swallow it once and wait for a while before saying it. There are places where the movement was shifted to that kind of feeling. This role is bad at movements and gestures. 1 tempo slow. Like, take one step faster (laughs). It’s not that I was trying to force myself to do it, but when I look back on it later, I think I did. It’s like when you take out your smartphone, it gets a little stuck. But I have experience, so I’m good at taking them out. If that happens, I think it’s different now (laughs).
―Yujiro is set to be the deputy manager of a home center, but did you do any interviews?
Katori: I’m not doing anything. But even if things get awkward at home, the next day Yujiro is normal at work. In the case of dramas and movies, I think there are ways of drawing that drag a little, but it doesn’t drag at all. I liked how even though he had a bad day the night before, he didn’t feel any brighter than usual the next morning, and he came in with a very flat “good morning” feeling.
―You mentioned putting it into words, but do you really communicate with Goro Inagaki and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi?
Katori: It’s not there (laughs). I haven’t taken it much in a long time. Why?
marketplace: I feel that there is something like a married couple between the three of us.
Katori: Maybe it’s because they tell me when I really hate it. Do you have a form of not saying anything other than that? But that’s not the couple in this movie, but it’s just my opinion, so maybe I should tell them something. Now I suddenly think so (laughs). Everyone else is doing it, but that’s the only one not doing it.
―You only talk to each other when it’s really bad.
Katori: Yes (laughs).
[Continued from the second part of the interview]
Interview and text: Fumiko Ishizu
Photo: Yuka Ochiai
“Dog doesn’t eat but Charlie laughs” will be released nationwide from September 23, 2022 (Friday / holiday)