Metropolis Magazine
Issue #805 - Friday, Aug 28th, 2009
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Past Issues

804: Rent, The original stars of the Broadway musical
803: Roland Emmerich, Director
802: Miss Universe Japan, Emiri Miyasaka
801: Dog days
800: Bolt
799: Actor, Hiroshi Mikami
798: Yuko Aoyama
797: Return of the bots
796: The Terminator cast
795: Actress Saki Takaoka
794: Okinawan actress Meisa Kuroki
793: J. J. Abrams and Star Trek cast
792: Zac Efron
791: Science Friction
790: Junichi Ishida
789: Daisuke Nakata, Trampolinist
788: Kazuaki Kiriya, Director
787: Nana Natsume, Former AV star
786: Eugene Otani, Newscaster
785: Love at first bite
784: Miki Mizuno
783: Tom Cruise
782: Jun Hasegawa, Model
781: Moe Oshikiri, Model attitude
780: Grace Park of Battlestar Galactica
779: Where there's a Will
778: Jolie good time
777: Age before beauty
776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolucin
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
713: Erik Gain
712: Genevieve Maylam
711: Masahiro Gono
710: Eikou Sumura
709: Eikou Sumura
708: Malcolm Thompson
707: Makiko Tsuji
706: Dominic Allen
705: Maria Heitanen
704: Beckie Cassidy
703: Jett Edwards
702: Yoshinobu Furuichi
701: Silvestre Jacobi
700: Jah-Light Sound System
699: Daniel Velazques
698: Lynne Charles
697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
650: Uleshka Asher
649: Full speed ahead
648: Katsumi Namekata
647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
638: Simon Woodroffe
637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

By Chris Betros

Dog days
Richard Gere says he was outperformed by his canine co-stars in the Hollywood remake of Hachiko

CHRIS BETROS

Richard Gere gets philosophical whenever he discusses his latest film, Hachi: A Dog’s Story, a transplanted American version of the 1987 Japanese movie Hachiko Monogatari. “The story is more than a dog waiting for his master,” said Gere, 59, at a recent Tokyo press conference. “It goes beyond the normal sense of loyalty. It is a connection between two beings. There is no subservience, no master and no dog; rather, they are soul friends.”

Gere, who has been coming to Japan since making American Gigolo in 1980, said he never really knew much about the tale of Hachiko, which has become part of Japanese folklore. According to the story, the Akita dog used to wait every day at Shibuya station for its master, a professor at the University of Tokyo. After the professor passed away at work, Hachiko returned to wait every day for a decade, until it died in 1935. A statue of the faithful hound was built outside Shibuya station in 1934. It was melted down during the war, but a new bronze version replaced it in 1948.

Making his first visit to Hachiko, Gere described the moment as very emotional, especially because the sculptor was present. “The story does something to me. When I first read the script about three years ago, I started crying. I read it once more and cried again, so I knew it was something I should take seriously. We tried to make our movie simply and honestly, making sure we were respectful toward the original story. It’s like a fable.”

The original Japanese film, which starred Tatsuya Nakadai (Kagemusha), earned more than ¥4 billion at theaters across the country.

The new version (whose Japanese title is Hachi, Yakusoku no Inu) is set in Rhode Island and directed by Lasse Hallstrom (The Hoax, Chocolat). Gere plays the professor and Joan Allen portrays his wife.
Three Akita dogs were used in the role of Hachiko, and according to Gere, they were the real stars. “Akitas are extremely difficult to train. Food and affection won’t work with them. We hired three of the best trainers in America, and I think they made more money than I did,” he quipped. “For my first meeting with the dogs, I was told not to even look at them or do anything to try and get them to like me. It took three days before I gained their trust.”

Gere, who also doubled as producer, said he and Hallstrom decided to shoot the film digitally so that the interaction between the star and the dogs could be captured without having to do short takes. “Sometimes, we would shoot up to 10 hours a day, focusing on the dogs, and then I’d just get 10 minutes for my part. I was definitely second-class on this film,” he said.

A noted humanitarian on issues ranging from Tibet to AIDS, Gere did not use his meetings with the media this time to promote any particular cause, as he used to do in the past. In fact, he was more interested in getting the media to loosen up.

“In the US and Europe, there is more interaction with reporters,” he said. “But whenever I am in Japan and try to crack jokes, everyone acts like it would be impolite to laugh.” When the star tried to mingle with some photographers, they wouldn’t have any of it, preferring to take his photo. “OK, forget about it,” he said, giving up. “I’m outta here. See ya.”

Hachi: A Dog’s Story opens Aug 8. Chris Betros is the editor of Japan Today (www.japantoday.com).

Got something to say about this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

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