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Ryunosuke Kamiki and Minami Hamabe talk about the 30th live-action Godzilla film produced in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ryunosuke Kamiki and Minami Hamabe

An icon of terror and despair rears its head in the Reiwa era (2019-).

The ‘Godzilla’ film franchise will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2024. ‘Godzilla Minus One’, the latest film in the series, is currently in theaters and was produced to celebrate this milestone. The film stars Ryunosuke Kamiki and Minami Hamabe, who became household names when they starred as a married couple in NHK’s morning drama “Ranman.”

“Godzilla Minus One” is set in a Japan devastated and devastated immediately after World War II. Koichi Shikishima (played by Kamiki) returns from the war alive, but has lost his family. He meets Noriko Oishi (Hamabe), whose parents also died in the war. Then Godzilla, the gigantic monster measuring 50.1 meters tall, emerges from the ocean and wreaks havoc in Japan.

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Godzilla in “Godzilla Minus One”

The film is directed by Takashi Yamazaki, who also wrote the script and supervised the visual effects. Other films directed by him include “Always: Sanchome no Yuhi” (“Always: Sunset on Third Street”) and “Eien no Zero” (“The Eternal Zero”).

Kamiki and Hamabe previously starred in the 2019 film “Shijinso no Satsujin” (“Murders at the House of Death”). They were offered their Godzilla movie roles before “Ranman,” meaning the NHK series marked the third time they worked together — even after the Kaiju movie premiered well over a month after “Ranman” finished.

Hamabe braced himself for the hard work ahead on ‘Godzilla Minus One’.

“I thought I would be overwhelmed and nervous by the huge set,” she said. “It was very reassuring to have Mr. Kamiki by my side because I know he is a warm-hearted person from working with him.”

“I cried, raged, suffered and fought,” Kamiki said of his role in the film. “Noriko also faces many hardships. There are no fun scenes and it was difficult overall. As if to vent that frustration, I made fun of a couple in ‘Ranman.’

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People flee from Godzilla in “Godzilla Minus One.”

“Godzilla Minus One” is the 30th live-action Godzilla film produced in Japan and is the first in the series where the plot unfolds immediately after World War II.

Kamiki said he couldn’t believe it when he received the offer and thought, ‘Am I right about this [role]?”

“I wanted to give everything for my last work in my twenties so that I could steadily start my thirties,” he said of his motivation before filming began, which took place from March to June last year.

Fear and excitement

The movie trailer shows people frantically running away as Godzilla decimates the city. Of course, there is no real Godzilla standing in front of them during filming.

“I felt a certain kind of nervousness about portraying someone in an era I’ve never experienced, a time when people were still recovering from [war]”, said Hamabe. But when she talked about her scene with Godzilla, she brightened up. “The scene where we screamed, ‘It’s Godzilla!’ when we fled was scary, but also fun. It was exciting that my long-held dream of being in a Godzilla movie came true, and it was fun imagining Godzilla in my head [during shooting].”

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Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and Noriko (Minami Hamabe) in “Godzilla Minus One”

Kamiki said his favorite moment in the film is the scene where Shikishima boards a ship and attacks Godzilla with a machine gun. The scene was shot at sea, which was a challenge for him and his colleagues Kuranosuke Sasaki, Hidetaka Yoshioka and Yuki Yamada.

“It was so hard, we almost died,” Kamiki laughed. “That scene would be impossible to do in a studio, and I feel very confident and proud of it.”

Ryūnosuke Kamiki

Kamiki was born on May 19, 1993. The native of Saitama Prefecture made his media debut at the age of 2 in a TV commercial. He was awarded Newcomer of the Year at the Japan Academy Film Prize for his role in “Yokai Daisenso” (“The Great Yokai War”) in 2005. He has also done voice acting for animated films such as “Summer Wars” and “Kimi no Na wa” (“your name.”).

Minami Hamabe

Hamabe was born on August 29, 2000. The Ishikawa Prefecture native made her film debut in 2011 and was named Newcomer of the Year at the Japan Academy Film Prize in 2018 for her role in the 2017 film “Kimi no Suizo o Tabetai” . ‘Let me eat your pancreas’). This year she turned heads playing the lead role in ‘Shin Kamen Rider’.



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