Being Part of a Limited English Speaking Crew

Inside is an article about Sarah Michelle Gellar’s experiences on the set of The Grudge US remake, which sound very similar to Bill Murray’s characters experiences in Lost in Translation. The Grudge is being directed by its creator, Takashi Shimizu, who has directed four previous ‘Grudge’ films before this, entitled Ju-on. Read on for the story.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who stars in the upcoming supernatural horror film The Grudge, told SCI FI Wire that it’s been a challenge working with the all-Japanese crew and director on the film’s set in Tokyo. “To be part of the first Japanese movie that comes to America by the original Japanese artist, to be able to bring all those ideas to the United States, and then for me to get to come for three months and live in Tokyo and work on a set where nobody spoke English, those are the kinds of opportunities that you don’t get,” Gellar said in an interview during a break in filming. “Those are the ones that come around very rarely.”

The Grudge is based on the hit Japanese film Ju-On and its sequels, which were written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. When producer Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures and Senator International picked up the rights for Sony, they decided to remake the film for U.S. audiences, but using the same director and crew and many of the same cast and to shoot it in Japan, just like the originals.

But that set up a clash of cultures between the director and crew, who speak limited English, and Gellar and her non-Japanese-speaking castmates, who include Jason Behr, KaDee Strickland, Clea Du Vall, William Mapother and Bill Pullman.

“This will either be the best acting of our lives, or possibly some of the worst that we might ever do,” Gellar said with a laugh. “Just because you’re very unsure. But I learned so much here just in the sense of, as an actor, it’s your job to give yourself up completely to the director. But you never really do that, because you have a lot of control in America or in England or Australia or wherever you are, because you speak the language. … Well, out here, you can’t hear [what they’re saying]. You don’t understand it. So you really have to give yourself up to the director, to the [cinematographer], to the crew. You just have to trust that they’re leading you in the right direction, because you don’t know. As an actor, it’s sort of a dream experience. We sort of say, ‘It’s like watching any of your old work with no sound and trying to figure out if you know what that person is saying and you know what’s happening.’ Because that’s kind of what we’re doing.”

In The Grudge, Gellar plays Karen, an American nurse living in Tokyo who gets assigned to a mysterious and malevolent house where horrific events have taken place in the past. The Grudge is currently wrapping up principal photography at the famed Toho Studios and on location in and around Tokyo for release in the fall.

Source: Sci-Fi Wire