【Ken Watanabe】NHK gave me an offer after it got the rights to the Kazuo Ishiguro novel. I had a feeling it would be a great project. But after I started reading the book, I was so regretful! It was so complicated, such a tough story, and some parts were flat, where nothing happened. When I was wondering how I could embody the character, the screenwriter created a script that's extremely very profound. During the shooting, I didn't think much about the 8K. It brings challenges for the craft departments-in makeup, for example, too much is easily noticeable-but not for the on-screen talent. The impression I have as an actor is that the 8K camera captured me exactly as I was.
In this story, there's a pivotal moment with the smell of something burning, bringing out adverse feelings in the character I play. There is, of course, the visualization of flames and smoke-something is burning, you can see it. With the ultra-high definition, image as well as the 22.2 surround sound that 8K has, it feels like more than just watching it-it appeals to all senses. It pierces through your senses. It's not that this happens because it's 8K. It's more that 8K brings out emotions that you never felt before. Because of the emotion brought out from the audience, you can connect with them and the story with different senses. It's a more sensitive connection.
I played one scene where Ono stand on a bridge reflecting on his life. I thought it went well, but the director wanted another take because there was a very thin spider's web in the frame. Before 8K, the audience wouldn't have noticed. But in 8K, they would. To my surprise, the original take was the one that the director used. When I saw the spider's web, I thought it symbolized the anxiety and the dread of Ono.
2017 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Kazuo Ishiguro's acclaimed novel "An Artist of the Floating World (Ukiyo no Gaka)", set in postwar Japan, has been made into a TV drama starring Ken Watanabe. Against the background of a city gradually recovering from the ruins of wartime destruction, through the prism of the life of one elderly artist, the themes of 'tragedy' born out of human weakness and 'comedy' born out of misunderstanding are explored. The uniquely delicate and elaborate world view of the author is faithfully brought to the screen in 8K.