At 25, actor Haruma Miura has already had a showbiz career of more than 20 years. In his latest film "Shingeki no Kyojin" (Attack on Titan), he throws himself into playing the protagonist energetically in his unending pursuit of becoming a great actor.
The live-action film based on the massively popular manga of the same title by Hajime Isayama depicts a world of humans living in a walled city. More than a hundred years ago, Titans attacked human beings, prompting the humans to build massive walls around their city to prevent an invasion.
Miura plays the protagonist Eren, a young man who experiences daily irritations during his life within the walls. He doesn't know where to vent his frustrations and strongly wants to see the world outside and live more freely.
"Eren isn't satisfied with his current life, as if he feels like he's destined for more," said Miura, who is a fan of the original manga. "He wants to take on something and straightforwardly struggle to carry it out, which I think shows his naivety. This character trait appears in both in the original manga and the film."
Shooting began in May last year on an island known as "Gunkanjima" in Nagasaki Prefecture, which is among the places designated for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status as "Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution." The island, which once flourished as a centre for undersea coal mining, with a school, hospital and shops as well as mining facilities, is now thoroughly in ruins.
Miura spent three days on location, which kept him so busy that he had no time to spare waiting for the next scene to shoot.
"At the time when men were mining coal on the island, they must have had diverse feelings and various ways of living. I could feel people's vitality and power still there on the island," Miura said. The atmosphere caused him to make even more serious efforts to finish the shooting successfully, he says.
Highlights of the film include action scenes in which humans take on the giants while flying through the air by wearing devices called "Rittai Kido Sochi" (vertical manoeuvring equipment).
To prepare for the hard action scenes, in which actors were suspended by wires, he asked his personal trainer to accompany him for about a month after the shooting's start so he could thoroughly train his core muscles.
"It's pretty unusual to ask my trainer to come to a location," Miura says, indicating his serious dedication to the film.
Born in 1990 in Ibaraki Prefecture, Miura entered showbiz at age 4, attracting attention as a child actor. He has since appeared in various works, including the TV drama "14-sai no Haha" (A 14-year-old mother) and the films "Koizora" (Sky of love), "Naoko" and "Eien no Zero" (The Eternal Zero).
Though he has already spent more than two decades in the world of entertainment, Miura still wishes to be an actor who is "in demand."
"I learn something new each time I play a type of role I've never done before, and I'd like to try taking on such roles. At the same time, I'd like to continue to do my best so that I can be given more roles and experiences," he said. "I think I have to do what I can to be given such opportunities."
'Attack on Titan' the movie
"Attack on Titan" is currently in cinemas and will be followed up with "Attack on Titan: End of the World" on Sept. 19.
It is a live-action adaptation of the popular manga by Hajime Isayama, which started running in the monthly "Bessatsu Shonen Magazine" in 2009.
The manga's comic version has been published over 16 volumes, selling 50 million copies worldwide.
The movie cast includes Hiroki Hasegawa, Kiko Mizuhara, Kanata Hongo, Takahiro Miura, Nanami Sakuraba, Satomi Ishihara, Pierre Taki, Jun Kuni-mura and others.
Character and stage settings are specially designed for the film while staying true to the original manga's world views.
Worthy of attention in the film are the giants. One 120-meter-tall massive giant was created with silicon and urethane and operated by 12 people. The giants are played by 20 people, who were selected from more than 80 candidates in an audition.
The theme songs for both films, produced by the popular band Sekai no Owari, are also worth special attention.