Kansai Creative: Hitoshi Hamagashira • 関西クリエイテブ:浜頭仁史

The movie "Raise the Castle", has finally started screening Osaka. I caught up with the co-writer of the script—Kansai's own Hitoshi Hamagashira—for an interview about his highschool experiences and his first big movie.


The first movie he went to see was Star Wars (ep.4). Dragged to the cinema by his father, 8yr old Hamagashira san didn't know the first thing about Star Wars, and wasn't interested in watching it. After getting over the idea of subtitles, which he didn't understand (why go to a movie to read?), he found he actually enjoyed the experience. From then he started attending the cinema regularly; gunfights, action and comedy were high on the list.


When he was 13 he he watched "The Third Man" on TV, and like a smack in the face realized that there was more to movies than just story and action. Seeing the attention to detail in things like framing, lighting and shadow, Hamagashira San got a shock. Even now, The Third Man is Hamagashira's Bible.


Personally, he's my movie critic. I get all the latest advice from Hamagshira San, who will, in a week, attend the movies at least once and watch 2-3 DVDs. I know there's probably people out there who watch more; but I know Hamagashira San is a reliable source. It's not just his objective criticism or the way he follows other critics in the news to compare reviews that I like, it's the small things he does to really analyze a movie. He watches movies and times them to analyze the scene lengths and the construction (introduction, development, turn and conclusion), and will if necessary, watch the same movie a number of times over; with subtitles and without; dubbed; and with both the dubbing and subtitles, to compare the difference.


To give you an idea of his tastes, here are his favorites:

1. a. Favorite Movies
The Third Man (1949)「第三の男」
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)「素晴らしき哉、人生」
The Natural (1984)「ナチュラル」
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)「汚れた顔の天使」
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995)「ウェールズの山」
Paper Moon (1973)「ペーパー・ムーン」
C'era una volta il West (1968)"Once Upon a Time in the West"「ウエスタン」(Italy)
Ai qing lai le (1997) "Love Go Go"「ラブ・ゴーゴー」(Taiwan)
The Truman Show (1998)「トゥルーマン・ショー」
The French Connection (1971)「フレンチ・コネクション」
Time Bandits (1981)「バンデッドQ」
Le roi de coeur (1966) "King of Hearts" 「まぼろしの市街戦」(France)
Shaun of the Dead (2004) 「ショーン・オブ・ザ・デッド」
Zoolander (2001) 「ズーランダー」
Blades of Glory (2007) 「俺たちフィギュアスケーター」
Broadway Danny Rose (1984) 「プロードウェイのダニー・ローズ」
Some Like It Hot (1959) 「お熱いのがお好き」
Amadeus (1984) 「アマデウス」
Unforgiven (1992) 「許されざる者」
Cool Hand Luke (1967) 「暴力脱獄」

1. b. Favorite Movies(Japan)
クレヨンしんちゃん/嵐を呼ぶモーレツ オトナ帝国の逆襲(Animation)

2. Favorite TV Series
The Black Adder 「ブラック・アダー」
Fawlty Towers 「フォルティ・タワーズ」
The Office 「オフィス」
Suika 「すいか」(Japan)
I Love Lucy 「アイ・ラブ・ルーシー」

3. Favorite Directors
Frank Capra フランク・キャプラ(USA)
Sergio Leone セルジオ・レオーネ(Italy)
Henri-Georges Clouzot アンリ・ジョルジュ・クルーゾー(France)
Billy Wilder ビリー・ワイルダー
Edgar Wright エドガー・ライト(UK)

4. Favorite Scripts
Cyrano de Bergerac「シラノ・ド・ベルジュラック」(French Play)
The Front Page (1931)「フロント・ページ」
Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryo no tsubo (1935)「丹下左繕餘話/百萬両の壺」(Japan)
A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966)「テキサスの五人の仲間」
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)「サブウェイ・パニック」
I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)「抱きしめたい」
Dave (1993)「デーヴ」
Shakespeare in Love (1998)「恋に落ちたシェイクスピア」
Galaxy Quest (1999)「ギャラクシー・クエスト」
Million Dollar Baby (2004)「ミリオンダラー・ベイビー」

5. Favorite Script Writers
Woody Allen ウディ・アレン, Richard Curtis リチャード・カーティス, Shinobu Hashimoto 橋本忍, Sadao Yamanaka 山中貞雄

So how did Hamagashira San get into script writing? "In high school, I was in a movie circle. I though it was just a club for watching movies, but it turned out to be a film making club, and since I was the only person joining that year, I couldn't escape once I was in." Once the club got it's projects underway, he became interested though. When the other students graduated, Hamagashira San was the only member left, and in his last year, he wrote the script, recruited, shot and edited the movie he created all by himself.


During the schools Cultural Festival, Hamagashira's Movie was all set to be screened to the public, but the Animation Club next door decided they would illegaly screen a Miyazaki animation ("Nausica of the Valley of the Wind"), at the same times. Over a 2 day screening period, 200 students attended from the school, which was a bit below the average. Most students had gone next door.


His movie "My Little Girl" had gained a reputation in this short time though, and students who had made the mistake of going to see Miyazaki's animation at the Animation Club next door were regretting the decision and demanding a rescreening. The teachers let Hamagashira San borrow a room for a rescreen, enough to seat 40 people.

この短い間でも、浜頭さんの映画「My Little Girl」は好評だったので、アニメの映画見に行ってしまった人々は後悔をして再び上映してほしかった。上映のため、先生たちは、40人入る部屋を使わせた。

100 people attended, squashed into the room. That is what has had Hamagashira hooked these years. "I can't escape from that feeling." Is it still possible to see "My Little Girl", then? Hamagashira San says that it's staying locked in his closet. "Now, I will never show it to anyone. NEVER. I don't want to see again, either. It's a blushing memory from my stupid high school days."

部屋が缶詰めで100人が参加しまして。浜頭さんはずっとその気分にやみつきです。『逃げられない』って。さ、My Little Girlをまだ見えますか?押し入れの奥にしまいこんでます。『今はもう、誰にも見せたくない。絶対に。自分でも二度と見たくない。おバカな高校時代の赤面思い出です』

So how did Hamagashira San get involved in Raise the Castle? Well, the producer of Raise the Castle had previously worked with Hamagashira San, and one day brought in a DVD; a 1 hour short film from an unknown director. She just said "Have a look". After watching it, Hamagashira san said, quite objectively, that it was rough, but it had power and a good idea behind it.


The producer told Hamagashira San that the plan was to remake this short film into a feature length movie. Hamagashira San advised the producer to get someone famous to have a look at the script. 2 months later, the Producer brought the script back, now rewritten, but the director had done it himself. So Hamagashira San advised as best he could: cut this, change the construction, more character building here. After a number of suggestions, the producer said "You do it. Getting a pro in is too expensive." And he's been on board ever since.


Aside from scripting writing, Hamagashira has also been involved in the advertising and PR of the movie; he's been in charge of the brochure, the posters and fliers, and has been a general behind the scenes man. Once the script is written, the script writer has free time.


So what was the biggest challenge?
Working and script writing at the same time. Hamagashira San said he found the "Sunday carpenter" role (or sunday script writer) difficult.


The best thing?
Watching famous people read his lines. It's a impressive feeling, but the whole time he's waiting for the candid camera crew to jump out from behind the bush and say it's all just a big joke. He said it's like someone's playing a trick on him.


If he had to do it all over again, what would he do differently?
Squeezing this idea into a 2hr movie was difficult. "when you write, it naturally gets longer; the first version was 3 hrs". If he did it again, it would be a TV series, with more details and character building. Building a castle in 2 hrs is too fast.


So what's Hamagashira's plans from now?
Continue writing as opportunity permits: scripts/novels. This time with Raise the Castle, Hamagashira was just a co-writer. Next time he'd like to be more involved, like one of the Die Hard creator members. "There is a big advantage and a big disadvantage to being a co-writer. The merit is that if the movie is complimented, you can take all the credit. If it's bad, you can blame the other partner. The demerit is exactly the opposite: the other partner can do the same to me".

機会があれば書き続けます:脚本/小説。築城せよ!にて浜頭さんは共著者だけだった。彼は今度もっとかかわりを深めたい、『Die Hard』のメンバー見たいに。『共同脚本には利点と不利点一つずつあります。利点は映画が褒められたら、自分の手柄にできて、けなされたらパートナーのせいにできる。不利点はその反対;相手も同じことをするかもしれない(笑)』

Thank you Hamagashira San!

About Raise The Castle

・Screening times
Osaka: Cine Libre, Umeda Sky Building
From July 4th (Sat)

Kyoto: Kyoto Cinema
From July 18th (Sat)


komai said...


Duncan · ダンカン said...