Sitges 2017 Interview: Takashi Miike reveals the one story he hasn’t told yet

The director of Blade of the Immortal talks about his prolific career and what he wants to do next.

Takashi Miike (Audition13 Assassins) is one of the most prolific directors working today. He’s directed over 101 films since his debut in 1991. He directed 15 productions between 2001 and 2002 alone.

I met Miike in Sitges while he was promoting his 100th film, Blade of the Immortal, based of the manga with the same name by Hiroaki Samura. The film follows Manji, a samurai who after being cursed (or blessed, depending on your point of view) by a witch, becomes immortal. He eventually crosses paths with a girl whose parents were killed by a group of swordsmen, and hires Manji to help her avenge their deaths. The movie is as crazy as you can imagine, with our main character losing limbs that suddenly re-attach with the help of some magical bloodworms, and as many decapitations as Miike has made films.

It is a pleasure to meet you, and congratulations on making it to 100 projects! One thing I particularly liked about Blade of the Immortal was that opening scene, can you talk a bit that?
Takashi: When adapting the manga, I decided to do the opening scene in black and white, both to show that it was the past, and to homage the movies from that time that inspired me, the Kurosawa movies from the 50s. Then after the title credits it goes back to color.

Takashi Miike.

How do you feel about having made your 100th movie?
I am 100% in the film I’m doing at the moment and I don’t really revisit my past nor do I think about what’s coming next. For me there is no difference between how I worked on my first movie and how I worked on my 100th. I have learned a lot from my mistakes, but I still feel the same way and the same excitement as I did when I made my first movie.

Is there a genre or a story you haven’t done but you’d like to?
Until now I haven’t touched a love story, so I kind of want to do a romantic movie at some point. I also haven’t done a lot with animals, I have used animals previously but not a whole lot. I want to do a love story with animals as the protagonists. I also want it to be a pure love story between two characters and that’s it. Normally you have a love triangle with two men fighting over a woman or something like that, and someone loses at the end. I want it to be just between two people, but with animals.

How do you keep making movies?
I am actually really lazy. I was never good at school, and I never studied when I was at school. Summer vacation is really important to a lot of kids, but for me, the last day of summer vacation made me feel guilty because I didn’t study or did anything productive.

I think there are two types or directors. The first type is the kind of director who creates everything from scratch and makes the story. I feel like I belong with the second type, where you have a plate which producers and writers pour their ideas into, and I cook those ideas into the movie you end up seeing. That’s who I’ve managed to make so many movies, because I already get the plate. The result is the same, but the preparation is different.

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