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Don’t leave, The Movie Doesn’t End There!
Blockbuster “One Cut of the Dead” Premiered in Chicago


• Inside of an abandoned water purifying plant building, Aika’s boyfriend, who had turned a zombie, is about to attack Aika. She screams with fear, “Stop Ken, please. It’s me!” “Cut!” Director Higurashi calls out, and an awkward atmosphere spread among the crew members. The shooting of the scene has repeated for 42 times. The frantic director, who bets his life on this zombie film, furiously demands Aika to show her real fear from the bottom of her heart.
• Make-up artist Harumi intervenes between Aika and Director Higurashi, and the shooting is paused. Aika, Ken, and Harumi remain inside of the rusty building, and Harumi begins to talk about an ominous story that the building was built as a water purifying plant, but it was actually used as an experiment facility to revive the dead. Suddenly, a ripped arm was thrown in front of them.

• The 37-minute film was shot by long take, the camera never stopped. But stay in your seat. You’ll see more. Movie “One Cut of the Dead” is perfect entertainment film, which drew international attention after winning second place in the audience vote at the Udine Far East Festival in Italy last April. “One Cut of the Dead”, casted by unknown actors and actresses, also quickly gained popularity in Japan after six days of introductory screenings in November 2017. The film was officially screened at two theaters in Tokyo last June, and now more than 300 theaters are screening it across Japan.

• Sophia Wong Boccio, founder and Executive Director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema, quickly recognized the film last March and decided to bring it to Chicago.
• “One Cut of the Dead” was screened at Chicago’s AMC River East 21 on November 23 as the closing piece for Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s Season 7. On an invitation by the Cinema, Takayuki Hamatsu, who played the role of frantic director Higurashi, appeared on the stage of AMC to greet the audience, and a Q&A session was held through Masami Takahashi’s translation and interpretation. According to the talks of the session, the cost of the film shooting was only $27,000.

• Takayuki Hamatsu applied for a cast recruitment offered by EMBU Seminal, a training school for directors, actors and actresses. The school invites two directors and makes two films every year.
• Hamatsu was one of 24 people who were accepted, and Director Shinichiro Ueda chose 12 people including Hamatsu.
• Director Ueda had a long-planned plot and decided to do it with the 12 members. After he held eight workshops, he selected Hamatsu as the role of Director in “One Cut of the Dead.”

Interview with Actor Hamatsu

• Although Hamatsu played a frantic director, he was a quiet, calm person, and far from the image in the zombie film.

Q: After graduating from college, you entered a comedian training school and did a duo comedy about a year. You changed your career as a DJ, then again moved to become an actor before you reached 30 years old. Did you think that you finally got what you wanted?

• Hamatsu: Well, I thought, “Really???” I was feeling a pressure rather than being delighted. I just wanted to be an actor, so I didn’t think about getting a role of kind of a main character. But Director Ueda gave me such a position, so I thought “Now it’s time to do it.”

Q: In the film, you played a very different character. It seemed completely opposite from your own.

• Hamatsu: I was very anxious if I could act like an obsessed director because I’ve never got mad as far as I remember.

Q: But you did it very well!

• Hamatsu: I managed to do it, but it was pretty hard to act like that because I had never played such a role before. Anyway I acted like what I am.

Q: Where is the building located?

• Hamatsu: It is an old water purifying plant in Mito city, Ibaragi Prefecture. The local government has offered it as a shooting site for free. It was an ideal place to Director Ueda, so he took it. The ground premises were large. There was a tunnel to underground, and stairs were outside of the building. Everything was perfect for the zombie film.

Q: How many days did it take to complete shooting?

• Hamatsu: Eight days. We went to the building site two times and stayed two nights and three days each time.
• We shot the zombie part for six times, but only four were completed. We couldn’t stop shooting once it started because everybody got dirty with blood, so it was impossible to return to earlier scenes.
• While we were shooting, we never thought about previous shooting. We had full commitment in each shooting, so we never looked back at previous ones.

Q: After played a role of director, do you want to be a director?

• Hamatsu: No at all. It is impossible to me. I cannot get people together to work. During the workshops, Director Ueda assigned me to become a director, but no, it was beyond my capacity.

Q: Could you tell us about Director Ueda?

• Hamatsu: He never got angry. He led us naturally, and we followed him. He was such a person, who enjoyed everything, even unexpected troubles. Because of him, we had a good teamwork.
• He cared about each of our characters and said, “Act as what you are.” He also set up highlight scenes for each of us.

Q: I cannot write a whole story of this movie because it would disturb the audience’s interest in the movie. So could you tell us three scenes that you like most?

• Hamatsu: Well, a guy had a stomachache during a shooting and didn’t have time to go to the bathroom, so he had to do it outside of the shooting scene. As the director I told a make-up artist to make up him as a zombie. Her reaction was perfect at that time.

Q: How about your own scenes?

• Hamatsu: Oh well, my daughter was untamable, but she was reading the script of “One Cut of the Dead” in the living room. I was delighted by her behavior and patted her keys on the hook after she left the room.

Q: Could you tell us about your next appearance?

• Hamatsu: I participated in the film Magic Boy, Wild Virgin, which will be screened in 2019. I have received several offers from TV dramas.
• Recently, I’ve been greeted by the people on the street. My family is very pleased about my situation now.

Q: What kind of roles would you like to play?

• Hamatsu: I only think about being an actor, so I don’t have specifics. Anyway, every offer I received was for new roles, so I’ll try them. Well, I like comedy. I was performing nonsense comedy in theatres before.

Q: I read about you in Wikipedia. It said that you have a part-time job to clean bathrooms in a love hotel where lovers rest for a few hours.

• Hamatsu: Yes. It is true. I recently quit it because I became busy. I have no idea who wrote about me in Wiki.

Q: “One Cut of the Dead” made a huge hit. Can you get money for it?

• Hamatsu: Regarding this movie, we, the cast, received no payment at all. But we began to receive job offers due to the movie.
• Many people in general have talked about money, but nobody thought about such a big hit during the time of shooting. So, none of us have any frustration at all.

Q: As you became famous, many candidates would run for becoming your wife. What types of candidate do you like?

• Hamatsu: I usually don’t talk much and prefer to stay quiet, so the type of Mao, who played the role of my daughter, would be a good match, I think.

Q: Thank you very much.


Takayuki Hamatsu, main character of “One Cut of the Dead” speaks on the stage in AMC River East 21.


A scene from “One Cut of the Dead”


Takayuki Hamatsu mocks a zombie in Chicago.