"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Toho Announces Three Principal Cast Members!


Hiroki Hasegawa will star as an unspecified "Government Official".

Next summer, the first Japanese Godzilla in 12 years will be released, and on September 22nd, the main cast for the contemporary film was announced. The lead star is Hiroki Hasegawa (some mistranslating his given name as "Hiromi"), who will play a "government official" dealing with monster's rampage. The 38 year-old Hasegawa, aka "Hasehiro", has acted on stage, television and film, recently starring as Ryoichi Suzuki in Shion Sono's LOVE & PEACE (2015) and Shikishima in Shinji Higuchi's ATTACK ON TITAN (2015).

Popular Yutaka Takenouchi will also play a "Government Official".

Hasegawa's male co-star is Yutaka Takenouchi, who began his career as a model, and made his acting debut in the television drama, MY FIRST JOB (1994). In 2002, the 44 year-old Takenouchi received a Best Actor nomination by the Japanese Academy Awards for Isamu Nakae's CALMI CUORI APPASSIONATI (2001). Also in demand for television and commercials, he recently starred as Captain Sakae Oba in Hideyuki Hirayama's Pacific War saga, OBA: THE LAST SAMURAI (2011), as well as Yukihiko Nishino in Nami Iguchi's THE TALE OF NISHINO (2014).

Satomi Ishihara's role was described by Toho as a "U.S. Agent."

Winning numerous acting awards, Satomi Ishihara was voted Vogue Japan's Woman of the Year in 2010, ranked as 25th and 32nd by T.C. Candler's Annual Independent Critics List of the 100 Most Beautiful Faces in 2014 and 2013, and received Jewelry World's Best Woman of the Year award in 2015. The 28 year-old model first made her screen debut as Sanju in Toshiro Saiga's HOGI-LALA (2002), under the stage name "Kuniko Ishigami". With numerous television and screen credits, Ishihara recently starred as Kanoe Kumoi in Hideo Tanaka's MONSTERZ (2014) and as Hange in Shinji Higuchi's ATTACK ON TITAN (2015).

The official katakana title logo in the style of the 1954 original.

While the supporting cast has yet to be revealed by Toho, principal photography has already begun, under the title "シン・ゴジラ" (Shin Gojira), which was announced as official during the press conference on September 22nd. This title has been rendered in katakana, the writing system usually reserved for foreign words — with "Gojira", of course, being "Godzilla" — while "Shin" is a triple-entendre reading of the kanji characters for "新" (new), "真" (true), "神" (god), according to the film's Supervising Director Hideaki Anno, best known to fans throughout the world for NEON GENESIS EVANGELION.

Shooting panic scenes in Tokyo's Ota Ward. Photo by Shimpei Kanada.

Toho is confident in Hasegawa abilities in being the pillar of SHIN GODZILLA's cast, in representing the best Japan has to offer, to which the actor stated, "It's no exaggeration to say that he's world-famous, so who wouldn't want to be involved in a Godzilla production?" and shouted, "I want to give this role all I've got!" His fellow cast member, Takenouchi declared that after 61 years since the original, this will be the 29th and best of them all, "With a deeper message." While she received the offer over the phone, Ishihara shouted "Alright!", but now she's feeling the pressure from all of her English dialogue. She admitted, "Sometimes it's so frustrating, I just wanted to cry."

What will the new Japanese Godzilla look like? The world awaits!

It was previously stated that the Big G appearing in SHIN GODZILLA would be taller than the 108-meter long creature appearing in Gareth Edwards' GODZILLA (2014). Undoubtedly, when this new Godzilla is finally revealed, for the first time in twelve years, he'll garner even far more attention than the human cast. More importantly, what will this new "Shin Godzilla" look like? Are the rumors of his design and designers true? And how will he be brought to life? So, stay tuned for more details as it develops, as the true King of the Monsters returns to the screen once again!

Based on various Japanese news reports including Sanspo.com and the official "Shin Godzilla" website.

Previous reports on SHIN GODZILLA:
September 6, 2015: Shooting Begins on Toho's "Godzilla 2016"!
August 1, 2015: Did These Men Design Toho's New Big G?
April 1, 2015: The Directors of "Godzilla 2016" Speak!
March 31, 2015: "Evangelion" Creator Helms New "Godzilla"!
December 7, 2014: The "Japanese Godzilla" Will Rise Again!

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