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star struck

Sky highs

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law take audiences on a roller coaster ride in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

By Chris Betros

It’s taken Gwyneth Paltrow a long time to make her first official visit to Japan. Now that the 32-year-old Oscar-winning actress has visited these shores, it might be a while before we see her again. Having given birth to a baby girl named Apple just five months ago, Paltrow said she intends to make fewer films and concentrate on being a mom. She certainly looked in good shape during her visit, along with co-star Jude Law, to promote Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. “I walk for hours each day, pushing the pram, and I do yoga to help me get back in shape,” she said, somewhat embarrassed when Japanese reporters asked for her beauty secrets.

After Sky Captain, she’ll be seen in Sylvia, then Proof and that’ll be it for the time being. Law, on the other hand, is everywhere. Since Cold Mountain earlier this year, he has made six films back-to-back, among them Alfie, I (Heart) Huckabees and The Aviator (in which he portrays Errol Flynn). “It’s coming all at once. I chose those parts because I like to do something new, but on the other hand, maybe there is a little piece of me in all of them. I think I learn from all my roles.”

In Sky Captain, he is an old-fashioned superhero. It’s 1939 and giant robots are attacking New York. The alarm goes out for ace aviator Sky Captain, who teams up with intrepid reporter Polly Perkins (Paltrow) to travel the world in search of the evil mastermind Dr. Totenkopf, who has abducted the world’s leading scientists. Debut director Kerry Conran piles on the special effects. Both stars spent most of their time performing in front of a blue screen, replaced later with computer-generated images.

“You really have to use your imagination,” said Law, 31. “Sometimes it was like being in an avant-garde empty-space theater production where we just sat beside each other and had nothing but a script to hold on to. It’s like going back to being a child and play-acting in your bedroom.”

For Paltrow, who lives in London with her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, Sky Captain was a big change from a lot of the theater work she’s been doing. “I think the theater is the area where you’re pushed the most as an actor and learn what you are capable of doing. It’s like a masters class. Then you try and bring those skills back to your film work.” In between her film promotion work in Tokyo, Paltrow also was unveiled as the new spokeswoman for jewelry firm Damiani, an interesting choice, considering her ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt is one of the designers of the line.

Photo credit: Chris Betros

 

 

the scene

Resfest

Digital film artists gather at Harajuku’s LaForet to launch the Tokyo leg of the festival

Clockwise from top to left: Resfest organizer and Nowonmedia Representative Director Motoya Kurihara, MC Yuki Mikami and Warp Vision’s Steve Beckett, Actor, model and “The Lost Samurai” co-creator Jai West (left), his collaborator Dean Whiteside (right) and Resfest’s Aya (center), Human beatbox artist AFRA with Hifana duo Juicy (right) and Keizo Machine, Animation artist Kenji Arakawa, The artists discuss their works on stage

Photos by Carlo Niederberger

 

 

q&a
Matt Canham

Making TV commercials in Japan can be a bizarre experience, especially if you're a foreigner. Australian Matt Canham has done that among many other things. When he's not acting in TV ads, he's making films, writing e-books, doing IT-related work and other odds and ends at Marinerblue, his own Tokyo-based company that specializes in DV production, script and copywriting.

Before you started your own company, what did you do?
I've taught English, worked as a writer for a few ill-fated English magazines, worked as an export car agent, been a headhunter and worked as an actor.

What are you currently doing?
A combination of acting, filmmaking, writing and IT-related work.

What sort of acting?
Mainly TV commercials, the last one being for Flets ADSL. I've done a lot of jobs around the Kanto area, met a lot of great people and had some interesting experiences on sets.

Such as?
I recently did a commercial for Livedoor. We did the same scene three times; once in a suit, once in swimsuits and once naked, with only gauze and surgical tape to protect our modesty-the women included. I was the only foreigner on the set and my recommendation is don't do it.

Tell us about your e-books.
The whole thing started from a small guide I wrote about importing a car from Japan to Australia. For people new to Japan, information like acting/modeling or wedding minister agents isn't the easiest to find, so I offer impatient people the opportunity to cut straight to the chase.

What do you think of "wedding ministers?"
Some people argue it is morally wrong for those other than real men or women of the cloth to conduct weddings, but since most Japanese people aren't Christian and the weddings don't take place in a real church, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

What's next on your agenda?
I'll continue to develop Marinerblue.com and hope to move into producing making-of documentaries for DVDs. I also recently launched a site for helping creative people called Raiseamilliondollars.com. CB

Photo credit: Matt Canham

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