Takumi Kitamura and Ren Nagase co-star in the movie “Court Game” Photo: Mitsuru Yamazaki *Tatsusaki Saki (C) ORICON NewS inc.
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This work is a live-action adaptation of the novel of the same name, a full-fledged courtroom mystery that was published by Ritsuto Igarashi when he was an active legal trainee and became a hot topic as a rising star in the mystery world, including winning the 2021 Newcomer Award in “Mystery ga I Want to Read!” . The film will be directed by Eihiro Fukagawa of “Kami no Karte” and “Byakuya Gyou”, and written by Saya Matsuda of “The Prime Minister’s Husband” and “Ryusei Wagon.”
The main character, Kiyoshi Kuga (Nagase), also known as Seigi, attends law school and becomes a lawyer, and his classmates Misuzu Orimoto (Hana Sugisaki) and Kaoru Yuki (Kitamura). A non-stop triangle mystery in which the truth hidden behind the masks of three people is revealed in the wake of a murder that actually occurred in a trial game.
■Kitamura sensed Nagase’s “core strength”: “His trunk has gotten really thick”
Takumi Kitamura appearing in the movie “Court Game” Photo: Mitsuru Yamazaki *Tatsusaki Saki (C) ORICON NewS inc.
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–I heard that you became very good friends when you co-starred in the 2019 one-shot drama “FLY! BOYS, FLY! We started CA” (Fuji TV), have you kept in touch since then?
Nagase: After the drama ended, we all went out for drinks once.
Kitamura: You only had one more remote drink, right? (lol)
Nagase: Yay, yay! You did Sashi Remote Drinking during the self-restraint period due to Corona.
Kitamura: I’ve only done remote drinking once or twice before, but that was once (lol).
–How did it feel to hear that you would be working together again?
Nagase: I thought I’d see you for the first time in a while, but (Kitamura’s) filming period was about 5 days. The two of us will be performing for two or three days…
Kitamura: It’s a work that involves Ren-kun, Hana-chan, director Fukagawa, and people who have a close relationship with me, so I wanted to see them at the mercy of director Fukagawa (lol). Director Fukagawa is a director I really like, and Hana-chan has known him since she was a child. When we first worked together, Ren-kun asked, “Are there any movies you think I should watch? ”…I thought he was very dedicated.In this work, I’m in the role of trying to make everyone interesting, so I’m trying to make everyone interesting.
–Mr. Nagase, do you remember asking questions about the movie?
Nagase: Slightly…? I feel like I said something like that. I remember talking to Takumi-kun in his car.
–Do you remember your impressions at that time?
Nagase: I thought he wasn’t the type to talk much, but when I tried talking to him during the shoot, he was very confused, gave me pecks, and was easy to talk to. I’m also good at tsukkomi.
Kitamura: It’s true that back then it was more like a joke or a tsukkomi.
Nagase: Yes, we got along well with each other, and we joked about each other… Me and Takumi-kun were really into it (lol).
――Did you feel anything when you watched each other’s acting together for the second time?
Kitamura: It was clearly massive. I felt like my trunk had gotten really thick. I was completely at the mercy of Director Fukagawa, which was also good (lol).
――What do you mean by “toying”?
Kitamura: After “Court Game,” I was filming “Starry Night” (2022, TV Asahi), also directed by Fukagawa. It seems like Director Fukagawa is experimenting with us (lol).
Nagase: I can have fun acting if I have someone I’ve worked with before. Takumi-kun gave me a lot of emotional support. The fact that I was able to relax just by being with him was the same as in the previous work. I felt this even more strongly because we met again after working on one work.
Hana Sugisaki and Takumi Kitamura appearing in “Court Game” (C) Ritsuto Igarashi/Kodansha (C) “Court Game” Production Committee
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–Mr. Nagase, did you feel that you were being “toyed with”?
Nagase: Looking back, maybe there was something like that? But I thought that’s how it is. I stood up without worrying at all.
–What do you think of Kitamura-san from Nagase-san’s perspective?
Nagase: The trunk is thick so you can lean on it…That’s just a joke (lol). Anyway, thanks to Takumi-kun’s presence, I was able to be on set with pride. Everyone made me feel confident. I guess it was because of the personalities of the people around me who supported me and worked hard that I was able to make people feel the way Takumi-kun said.
Takumi Kitamura appearing in “Court Game” (C) Ritsuto Igarashi/Kodansha (C) “Court Game” Production Committee
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— Mr. Kitamura, how do you view the support position on the side?
Kitamura: When I get to play the lead role, of course I feel a sense of responsibility, but I do it without putting too much effort on my shoulders. I felt that he was doing well against Ren-kun, and that he was an “iron man” with great defensive ability. Ren-kun hasn’t wavered since the first time we played together. I don’t feel upset. There are moments when I really feel like this person is a professional. I feel that even in music programs, and I feel that his unwaveringness and strong heart, and his ability to say “It’s okay” no matter what is said, is reflected in the play as well.
–Although you were at the mercy of director Fukagawa, were you optimistic that things would turn out somehow?
Nagase: That’s right. I’ll try acting anyway. I’ve tried everything I’ve been told to do at least once. I’ll try acting once, and if it’s unavoidable, I’ll discuss it with you, but basically I’ll act once.
――The performance seemed to come out in an unexpected way…
Kitamura: As for how people perceive it, I think it’s interesting when you actually do it instead of thinking, “No, that’s a bit…”. In past works, I wrote, “Suddenly, this scene is Yankee.” Even if someone says, “I’m irritated with everyone,” without any context, it’s fun to act. Things like, “Please turn over the bench here,” and “Let’s have three refills during the eating scene.”
Nagase: That’s right!
Kitamura: In the eating scene of “Nijiiro Karte,” I was told to “don’t stop eating,” and when I ran out of food while I was eating, I was told to get a second helping. That’s interesting as an actor. A kind of etude. At the end of our scene, running up the stairs was “love”.
Nagase: You said you wanted to go like that.
Kitamura: We were a little confused, but we decided to give it a try first.
Nagase: It’s not really flirting though. Suddenly, Takumi-kun pushed me and said, “Hey, what is it? (laughs) It’s a little cute…
Kitamura: However, Director Fukagawa’s ability to give meaning to it is amazing. It was moderately embarrassing (lol)
Nagase: I felt a bit hesitant during the test (lol).
■If we were to co-star next, would it be in “Battle Royale”? “Kaiji”?
Takumi Kitamura and Ren Nagase appearing in “Court Game” (C) Ritsuto Igarashi/Kodansha (C) “Court Game” Production Committee
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–I heard that it was quite cold at the quarry where “Trial of the Innocents” (the trial game in the movie) took place. How was it there?
Nagase: If you stay in that place for a long time, you lose track of time. It’s always dark and the temperature doesn’t change. I was wearing very light clothing, so I had several layers of Heattech inside. She was wearing two layers of thigh-high socks underneath, and the other people seemed to be having a hard time as well.
Kitamura: The innocent game was tough.
Nagase: When I wasn’t there, you were really pushing me while filming Innocent Game, right?
Kitamura: I pushed hard and was cut mercilessly (lol).
Nagase: I was really excited about the scene where everyone who was standing as a witness was removed in one cut, and I was looking at the stars while I was waiting. I spent the whole time looking at the stars in a waiting area that looked like a mountain hut (lol).
Ren Nagase starring in “Court Game” (C) Ritsuto Igarashi/Kodansha (C) “Court Game” Production Committee
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–How did you learn to speak the long legal terminology fluently?
Nagase: Like studying for a test. I remembered the students. Since I was good at memorization, I memorized these terms with enthusiasm.
Kitamura: I had played the role of a lawyer before, so it was easy for me to play the role. In Kaoru’s position, I wanted him to enjoy everything that was happening, so rather than having to go through the trouble of remembering those lines, I had fun acting from my own position.
–Now, both of you are both artists and actors, but is there anything that inspires you?
Kitamura: I’ve worked hard to prevent people from seeing actors as musicians and artists as actors, but the people at Ren-kun’s agency have a history of being one of the few people who can do both. I previously worked with Kimura (Takuya) on “Kyojo” and he was a wonderful actor. Among them, I get the impression that he is someone who is interested in acting and music, so when I meet him on a music program, I feel like I have friends with him.
Nagase: I’m happy. The other day, we were both rehearsing for a music program, so the time was close… It is encouraging. When Takumi-kun is working hard on his singing, it makes me want to do my best too, and I get to meet a different Takumi-kun at the theater. It’s fresh.
–Mr. Nagase, do you ever find it difficult to balance work and life?
Nagase: It’s difficult, isn’t it? I place importance on the work of the group, and I enter the work as Ren Nagase of King & Prince, and while there is an axis called King & Prince, I am facing my own work in order to expand the name of King & Prince. We won’t let that change, and in that sense, there may be a lot of difficult things, but we’ll have to enjoy ourselves and have a lot of important things to do, but we’ll continue to enjoy ourselves and do it without putting too much burden on ourselves.
–If you were to co-star next time, what kind of relationship would you like to portray?
Kitamura: I want to do a work like “Battle Royale.” Starring Ren Nagase. I have more friends. I want to be in suspense in it. I will dominate the game again (lol).
Nagase: What should we do? I want to do that! Something like “Incitemil” that uses your brain…like “Kaiji” (lol). “Why? ” I want to do it. At my previous work site, quizzing each other was popular, so I wanted to use my brain.
Kitamura: To be honest, this work is also like that. However, this kind of shooting is interesting, so I would like to perform in a work that feels extraordinary.
■Ren Nagase hair and makeup KAZUOMI (LOTUS) stylist Chihiro Tan, Katsuhiro Yokota (YKP) ■Takumi Kitamura hair and makeup Asako Satori stylist Shinya Tokita (Shinya Tokita)