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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What We Learned From The Attack on Titan Press Conference

L-R Pro Yoshihiro Sato Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara, Dir Shinji Higuichi
Spider-Man was a harsh subject to bring up, I was told that later after questioning how they would pull off stunts using omnidirectional gear that let's a human being glide through the air, much like Spider-Man. Apparently in Japan, Attack on Titan's special effects have been likened to the Spider-Man often, for asking it again  I apologize. The director, Shinji Higuchi didn't seem to take it harshly as he joked about in Japanese with the cast at the Attack on Titan Press Conference, held shortly before the world premiere of Attack on Titan: Part 1, down the street from the hotel the press conference took place.

The devilishly handsome, having all the girls swoon over him, Haruma Miura, who plays the lead, Eren, started by saying, "This is actually my very first time coming to LA and I'm enjoying the place and relaxing. I love the atmosphere LA has." He was joined by Producer Yoshihiro Sato saying, "You are a very action-orientated savvy crowd and I'm very happy to bring the film here," taling about the American audience. They were joined by the beautiful Kiko Mizuhara, chosen to play the tough-as-nails Mikasa, who welcomed the press in perfect English.

"Mr. Isayama, the original creator clearly stated that he didn't really want us to mind the setting in the original manga, that much. So the only thing he wanted to keep was the world in which these giant titans eat humans, " that's what producer Sato said. We learned that during the press conference that the original creator gave a lot of leeway with his work and was part of the production from the start. 

Director Higuchi added that a contest using the titans opened his eyes to the look of the film, Mr. Isayama (creator of ATOT) commented on a user who put a titan figure with a Japan backdrop as being perfect and what he wanted to do in his manga. The director went with it for the look of the film, but stopped himself, "I was going to go on and tell you a little more about how I felt about that moment (about the comment), but that's going to step into what happens in the second part of the movie." So Part II could depict a destroyed Japan.

Higuchi was later translated saying, " I am the most fan, I'm the fannest of them all," when asked about why he chose the film. "So for me the pressure was to really have it true to the original and not to betray the source material and to recreate as much as possible, " the director added.

"The day I got the part... I went straight into training, because I knew she was the strongest character in the film." That was Kiko, who added, "I  had to put a lot of muscle on my legs and lower back...on the heavier days I would train for eight hours. Haruma explained, "So, we don't use any stuntmen in the film...there was a lot of training of the inner muscles." So both main actors had to work out to a point where they could move with ease using wires and used to pull off movement with the omnidirectional gear. The got very good at it, so much that the director, in a jovial way said, "We didn't use any stunt women for Mikasa because simply there was no stunt women that had her figure that she had. As for Mr. Miura we did hire a stuntman for him, but Mr. Miura was better than the stuntman, so we had to fire him."

On the technical and special effects side I asked about how hard was it to pull off the creatures and acrobatic maneuvers. The director told me much of what they wanted was already portrayed in the anime, so they had an idea of what it would look like. The director then told me that he pushed his actors to the limit "How much can a human being do, what is depicted in the manga and the anime series?" That's what the director questioned himself on. "The turning was the most hard part for the action...," he added, before saying Spider-Man multiple times, as though he was sick of hearing that name. I may have mentioned it in asking how stunts we're pulled off.

TOHO, which is behind the film, was a perfect place to make the film as they have a reputation with giant costumed monsters and heroes. Producer Sato went in further detail on the special effects, "We didn't go full CG in this film, we blend state-of-the-art CG with tokusatsu, which is what TOHO is so well known for ever since Godzilla."

I also asked about the violence of the film, if it was going to be more violent than the manga or anime. Higuichi told me, "I do have two children of my own so I kept it at a good place where it'll give everybody dreams, but definitely nightmares."

"I'm very nervous, but there no sense in not doing it because it's such a rare opportunity...," Kiko said about attending the premiere in Hollywood. She was joined by Haruma who said, "...I'm very excited to bring out film to a town that I've grown up seeing on the news on television."

The director who had made the press in attendance laugh with his mannerisms and jokes got a little serious, "I'd like to go back to my personal experience, twenty-five years ago. I did have a job in Hollywood, it was in fact in NOHO-can you believe it-that's a mountain away. And it was extremely hard and a rather hard, hard experience that I had, that makes me feel, that when I'm back here again, I feel as I've come this far."

The director also stated he didn't make the film for the American audience when asked, he had no idea the film would be premiering in LA until well after it was finished.

Soon the cast and crew had to head down the street a few hours later for the world premiere.