Now this is something I personally have been waiting awhile for, an interview with Takashi Shimizu, the brilliant Director behind The Grudge, a remake of his original film Ju-on. Inside is the first time he’s talked about the film to US press, check out what he had to say about bringing Japanese culture to America.
“Takashi Shimizu-the Japanese director who is helming The Grudge, the English-language remake of his original hit film Ju-On-told SCI FI Wire that he was reluctant to take on the project until producer Sam Raimi persuaded him to bring his unique vision to America. Shimizu, speaking through a translator, talked about the unusual arrangement in a rare interview during a break in production at Toho Studios in Tokyo.
“After the original Ju-On, there are more things that I really wanted to do, but this Grudge is supposed to be a remake of the original Ju-On,” Shimizu said. “When I was first requested to do this, I actually didn’t want to do it, because I’ve already made the original. I felt there was no meaning to do a remake. But these producers, including Sam Raimi, they really wanted me to do it again, because the taste I have has never been done in America as a horror movie, and they really wanted to introduce my taste to America. I thought that was nice, and I decided to do it.”
Like its predecessor and its Japanese sequels, The Grudge deals with a curse that surrounds a mysterious house and the unfortunate people who come across it. In the U.S. remake, an American cast headed by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jason Behr joins some of the original films’ Japanese actors in a production shot in Tokyo with a Japanese crew. On a recent set visit, reporters watched as Gellar performed a scene with American actress Rosa Blasi while Shimizu directed in Japanese, through a translator.
Shimizu said that Gellar, best known as the star of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, actually fits the movie. “For the original Ju-On in Japan, we had an actress called Megumi Okina, and she was in the same position as Sarah, which is [to say] they [both] started off as a teenage idols. Sarah was the main actress on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which means that she has been acting a lot, and she’s used to acting and she has the basics, but she still is a teenage idol. When I was told that she wanted to try being in a horror movie, I thought that was very exciting.”
For himself, Shimizu said that it’s also a challenge to adapt his own work for an American audience. “This is going to be a movie for Americans, which means it’s going to be seen by a people from a completely different culture,” he said. “So I thought that was kind of interesting. Also, since I’m doing this over, there were things I never could have done in the first one and maybe I can do those things in the remake. Also, I can review the first one and go over the things I couldn’t do and maybe I can experiment a little bit. … The taste of Ju-On can only be brought by me, and I think that taste would be lost if it was directed by another director, so I’m really happy to be doing this and, yes, it’s a big challenge.” The Grudge is eyeing a fall release.