Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!
From training, to competing, to setting World Records, attending on-line university, doing magazine photo shoots, appearing in tv specials and commercials, and now appearing in his first movie, when does Yuzu have time to sleep?
The excitement level of this new movie was ratcheted up quite a few notches once it was announced that Yuzu would be acting in the movie! Reports of significant movie ticket pre-sales have just re-emphasized Yuzu’s star power which reaches outside of any figure skating arena.
This movie will be released in theatres on May 14, 2016.
Plot: Residents in a town have a hard time due to the land tax and forced labor. 9 people, including Juzaburo Kokutaya (Sadao Abe), worry about the future of their town. They then set up a plan to save the town. The plan is to lend large amounts of money to han (historical term for the estate of a warrior) and distribute the interest annually to the residents, but if they’re caught they will lose their lives. Hanyu plays the role of Lord Date Shigemura.
Comments: Comments and feedback from the actors, producers, and directors all have been very positive of Yuzu’s acting debut. He came prepared, and was eager to learn the craft.
Director,Yoshihiro Nakamura’s comments:
Casting of this movie was really gorgeous. So it was really difficult to find an actor who plays their lord, because the lord must be worshiped as a court-noble by such gorgeous actors.
At that time, I remembered Hanyu’s name. He is no doubt a court-noble. In addition, he comes from Sendai where this story originated. No wonder if he has something to do with Date Family (Date is the sir name of the lord of Sendai). When we filmed at the studio, he looked wonderful with his beautiful standing position and behavior, the power of his eyes, and clear voice, which were enough to be recognized as the lord of Sendai. Anyway our lord became the number one of Japan and finally conquered the world. I really think I casted such a great person for our lord in the movie I myself still tremble with this casting now.
During Edo period, it was almost impossible for the ordinary people to see their lord. But this story was real. It was recorded as the actual incident. The lord of Sendai actually met the ordinary people. When they suddenly saw their lord of Sendai, how were they surprised at that time? What were their facial reaction at that time? The actors are really gorgeous. And in addition, we guessed it must have been impossible, but anyway we asked Mr. Hanyu to join us. And he accepted it… I think it was a miracle. The national hero appeared in our movie. Mr. Hanyu really overwhelmed the top-class gorgeous actors. His appearance had been a top-secret even in the filming site. The actors had not been informed of this until the filming day.
After the rehearsal, Mr. Hanyu appeared in front of them. What a surprise for the actors ! Their response must have been the same as when the ordinary people actually saw their lord in the ancient period. This movie is a kind of comedy. You can laugh and cry, but it’s an amazing heart-warming story which had not been known for 250 years. We put into this movie the Japanese wonderful spirits which made the world be surprised at after the earthquake in Tohoku area in 2011.
The story originated from Sendai, Mr. Hanyu’s hometown. He accepted our offer because he wanted to be helpful for his hometown. I really respect him for his great love towards his hometown and his great execution. On the other hand, he was really curious about everything. He asked lots of question at the filming site. In a good meaning, he is greedy for learning everything by making use of this opportunity. I really admire him because I think that’s why he is the world champion.
A special “Thank you” to unpoissonbleu for providing me with the translation for the Director and Producers comments.
Their comments make me more intrigued to see the movie, even if I cannot understand it. I certainly hope that there will be a english dubbed version in the future!
Other Skaters in Movies
Yuzu is not the first figure skater to appear in a movie (either as himself, or a character). Here are some movies where actual skaters have appeared.
Ice Girls (2016): Elvis Stojko and Michaela Du Toit
Plot: The movie’s plot revolves around the strong bond formed between aspiring figure skating star Mattie Dane (Du Toit) and Mercury (Stojko).
Mattie injures herself in a fall during a competition and struggles to regain her confidence after her skating dreams are shattered. Things take a turn for the worse when her mother loses her job and the family is forced to move to a small northern Ontario city, where Mattie struggles to find her place in unfamiliar surroundings.
As she tries to fit in, Mattie finds escape at the local arena, but another talented skater (Hunsley) and her overly-competitive mother (Henstridge) remind the newcomer there isn’t room at the top for both of them. Seeing the potential in the skater, Mercury begins to mentor Mattie, much like in real life when Stojko works with young Skate Canada athletes.
Michaela, who skates for South Africa, trains at the Toronto Cricket Club with Yuzu, picture from her instagram)
Other older movies that have had prominent figure skaters appear as either themselves (cameos) or as characters in the movies.
Thin Ice (1937): Sonja Henie
In the film, Lili Heiser (Sonja Henie) works as a ski instructor at a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. She falls in love with a man who goes skating every morning. She thinks the man is a tourist, but later discovers that he is a prince who is trying to escape the pressures of being royalty. This movie was nominated for the Academy Awards for best dance direction.
Carmen on Ice (1990): Brian Orser, Brian Boitano, Katarina Witt
This TV movie was filmed in Germany, and actually has no spoken dialogue. It won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Classicical Music-Dance Program. The plot of this tv movie is very similar to the opera, Carmen.
The Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold (2006): Oksana Baiul – cameo
While the original movie, The Cutting Edge was the best one (in my opinion), it did not feature any competitive figure skaters. Oksana’s cameo is in this sequel.
Who doesn’t love a story about a figure skater and a hockey player getting together to skate pairs!! After the original movie came out, the CBC even had a skating reality tv show (it only ever aired in Canada), called Battle of the Blades where real female figure skaters teamed up with ex-NHL hockey players to form skating pairs teams. The hockey players had to learn how to skate pairs and they competed in front of a panel of celebrity judges. One of the hosts of this show was Kurt Browning, and it lasted for 4 seasons.
Blades of Glory (2007): Various cameos
Plot: Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy are two professional ice skaters, who after getting into a fight, are both banned from mens figures skating. Fortunately, it is soon discovered by an obsessed fan that they are banned from mens singles competition and not doubles competition. Now Chazz and Jimmy must team up as the first double mens team and take on the team of Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, who are eager to do anything to get the victory.
This movie has a lot of real life skaters doing cameos, which include Sasha Cohen, Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill, Nancy Kerrigan
I hope that at the end of Yuzu’s career, they will make a movie about his life. So much has happened to him in his 21 years, I think it would be simply amazing.
Go Yuzu Go!! Doki Doki!