Tatsuya Fujiwara went into his latest movie role with his eyes wide open, and what penetrating eyes they are, too.
In "MONSTERZ," Fujiwara plays a man who can manipulate others by staring intently at them. All except one, costar Takayuki Yamada, who is immune to Fujiwara's mesmerizing glare.
Fujiwara, 32, and Yamada, 30, belong to the same generation, but they followed different paths earlier on. Fujiwara started his acting career in theatre, while Yamada made his name in a TV drama. Now they both perform on the same stage-movies.
Both actors have appeared in recent years in a number of films. No wonder, then, that Fujiwara is strongly aware of Yamada's appeal. He believes Yamada is an actor sought after by many directors.
One of the main reasons Fujiwara decided to star in "MONSTERZ" was that he would be able to work with Yamada for the first time.
Fujiwara has a number of villainous roles to his credit, such as the "Death Note" series and "Wara no Tate" (Shield of Straw).
"The female proprietor of a tempura restaurant I often go to told me, 'Tatchan, I don't want to see you play roles in which you kill someone, so please do something fun that makes me laugh,'" he recalled.
But the lead role of "MONSTERZ" is a nameless man who manipulates other people with his eyes whenever he feels like it, and even commits crimes. The prospects of costarring in a film with Yamada apparently was more important to Fujiwara than the woman's request.
Yamada plays Shuichi, a person who cannot be controlled by Fujiwara's eyes. For this reason, Fujiwara considers him a threat and tries to kill him. In a scene where the two actors battle each other, they hold nothing back.
"Yamada-kun's performance as Shuichi was so powerful that it actually made me feel, 'I still can't control him. Why?' So his presence drew out the best in me," Fujiwara said.