The emotional fanboy rollercoaster of the last few months regarding the “retirement” of beloved Japanese action star Tak Sakaguchi signaled what many people thought would be the end of an era that saw the rise of Napalm Films, and the emergence of Nippon cinema glory with the highly acclaimed cult jiadaigeki-style blood-splatter zombie action classic, Versus, directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, who is promoting his latest action horror release, No One Lives, starring Luke Evans. In an April article cited at Nippon Cinema, Kitamura managed to close the book on those reports stating that he would bring Sakaguchi out of retirement saying, “The lead actor [Tak Sakaguchi] is retired, but I’ll get him to make a comeback. He’ll do it if I do it.”.
Thankfully, a recent interview on Monday was shared by writer Diva Velez (a.k.a. The Lady Miz Diva)
over at Twitchfilm
, where director Ryuhei Kitamura
clarified the ordeal and put some further speculation to rest with his own ideas, essentially laughing off Tak’s retirement internet bomb-drop saying, “That retirement thing is fucking bullshit! I was kind of pissed that I was the only one who was very vocal about that.”
Kitatmura continued his assessment, suggesting that “fucking politics” were what likely led to Tak’s decision. “Those powerful agencies – those parasites and sharks – and poor Tak Sakaguchi, he’s trapped in the middle and he was kind of like forced to retire. Which he never had to do, anyway.” he says. “But it’s a small world, anyway, and of course that’s why he retired, but I was like, ‘What on earth made you? You are the stubborn person. Just fuck them all.’ But you know, Taku has his reasons.”
Earlier in the interview, Diva asked what Ryuhei missed about making movies in Japan aftet directing films like No One Lives and the Bradley Cooper/Vinnie Jones starrer, Midnight Meat Train. Kitamura stated how he got used to the industry in Hollywood, learning to communicate and have a crystal clear vision of what he wants for a production, but also highlighted the differing impediments between the East and the West he observed in the process, such as the proximity between pre-production and production, and matters of etiquette, dealing with “liars” and working in “superficial relationships” with other industry professionals.
Among other things, he also went on to state that Versus 2 would stay true to the original, with a production set on a “completely new, much, much bigger scale” with a story continuing where the first film left off and exploring the darker journey of Tak’s character, Prisoner KSC2-303.
Perhaps this all means that not only is Tak not
retired, but also we could see more films other than Versus 2. (Maybe that Death Trance 2
gem we all celebrated hearing about?) Yeah, I know. Time will tell. At any rate, I hope that Kitamura’s working relationship wit Sakaguchi continues to prosper for the days and years ahead.
No One Lives
is currently out in theaters. To read the rest of Diva’s interview and learn more about what the director has in store, click HERE
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Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.