【Cover Story】Okada Masaki: Meant To Be a Passionate Actor/ 為電影而生 岡田将生充滿熱情的演員之路
After debuting for more than fifteen years, Okada Masaki has marked himself out in the Japanese entertainment industry; in other Asian countries, his reputation is not inferior to that of other local artists. Since his debut in 2006, Okada Masaki has gone from a young man who was unfamiliar with acting to a professional actor in Drive My Car which won the 94th Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.
For Okada Masaki, as long as he is passionate about the things he likes and meets enthusiastic working partners in the workplace, he can complete successful works together. "The thing I once did about Labour of Love was probably on the set of Drive My Car! Because whether it is the director, the staff, or the actors, we all have great ideas about this work. Maybe it was also because when we were on set that everyone is willing to devote their enthusiasm to this work, which is why this work is so successful in the world."
The Path That Made Okada as An Actor
I first noticed Okada Masaki because of the movie A Pierrot. At that time, I was very surprised by Okada Masaki 's performance in the movie; even though I was about the same age as Okada Masaki at that time, and my life experience was not that rich, I could not forget his superb performance.
Coincidentally, Okada Masaki said that it was because of his performance in the movie A Pierrot that he decided to become an actor in the future. "For me, the work that made me want to be an actor was A Pierrot. Because the role in this film taught me a lot of things, such as the joy of acting and getting along with other people, such as directors and other actors. The relationship of communication. From that moment I thought, ‘It would be great if I could continue this work forever’.”
The Appearance of Innocence and Simplicity
If you carefully study all the works of Okada Masaki since his debut, it is not difficult to find that he can handle various types of characters. But what would he do if he had to choose the three most impressive works amongst the many? Okada Masaki said, "There are so many unforgettable films that it is really difficult for me to choose. But if I really need to say it, the first one is of course We're Millennials. Got a problem? because its theme mirrors exactly situation I felt when I was in my twenties. The second film that impressed me deeply was Drive My Car. This was my first time working with director Hamaguchi Ryusuke, and I learned a lot from him. So, this movie will be one of the very important works in my future life. The third movie is my debut movie A Gentle Breeze in the Village. This movie and One Second Ahead, One Second Behind are both directed by director Nobuhiro Yamashita. When I was a newcomer, the director taught me a lot of acting things, so I have always been impressed by it. For other people, going back to see their debut work may feel a bit embarrassing. But this film was my first work when I was young and in high school, that is, when I had no acting skills. Of course, I have gained a lot of experience now after working with many directors, but when I go back and watch that work now I would still think of the feeling of standing in front of the camera when I was in high school. The innocence and simplicity at that time is actually something I want to try to recall now, but maybe I will never be able to do it again."
My Role and Myself In The Same Generation
Masaki Okada's first impressive work We're Millennials. Got a problem? will be released this year as a movie version We're Millennials. Got a problem? INTERNATIONAL. For Masaki Okada, he not only looks forward to it but also considers it’s a very important one. "This time the movie will continue the theme of Yutori Education. This time, the three characters who were born in this generation will show the experience from the Yutori generation, whether it is their views on work or life. As I starred in the film I am very much looking forward to this work. Since this work has been made from a TV series to a movie, I am very moved by this work and attach great importance to it.”
Okada Masaki said that he and Masakazu Sakama, the character in We're Millennials. Got a problem? INTERNATIONAL, are from the same generation as him, so they are very similar in personality and age. He laughed and said, "The only difference is that the character in the film is already married, but I am not married yet."
In addition to this movie spin-off from the TV series, Okada Masaki has another work this year, One Second Ahead, One Second Behind. We tried to discuss the characters in the two films with Masaki Okada. Are there any similarities or differences for him? Okada said, "Of course the personalities of the characters in these two movies are completely different, but the only similarity between the characters is that the screenwriter is Mr. Kankurō Kudō. Because I know Mr. Kankurō Kudō in private, I have the feeling that even if the two characters have different personalities, because they were all written by Mr. Kankurō Kudō, I feel that he modified this role for me. So when I was acting, although the characters were different, the acting felt a bit familiar. So, there is a tacit understanding between me and Mr. Kankurō Kudō. Every time I film a script written by him, I feel a sense of intimacy."
Passionate Work Is The Most Important
As a professional actor, Okada Masaki has outstanding performances in stage plays, TV series, and movies. However, he thinks there is not much difference in whether there is a performance difference between the three. If there are any differences, movies are the one that influenced him the most. "If there is any difference, movies have the greatest impact on me. After all, I started learning how to be an actor from movies. And if I have the opportunity to act in Taiwanese movies, I would like to do it. In addition, I also want to give back to the movie, because the movie taught me many things, and I want to give back to the movie."
As for what qualities an actor should possess? Okada Masaki believes that having human nature or personality is the most important trait. "This is a difficult question to answer. I think it should be to have a human nature or personality. Because as long as someone has it, there will be people who want to cooperate with you and people who will want to film you. So, I think this trait is important as a human being. One of the conditions that an actor needs to have.”
The interview has come to an end. Let’s ask Okada Masaki to explain to us what Labour of Love means to him. Okada Masaki said, "For me, Labour of Love is interpreted as a very passionate thing, that is, whether you are passionate about something. If you work with people who are not passionate at the work, then your work efficiency will be relatively affected, and your enthusiasm for work will also be reduced. So, I think the ritual of enthusiasm is very meaningful."
EIC & TEXT/ @dylan_sy_tang
PHOTOGRAPHY & PRODUCER/ @chenchekai
STYLIST/ 大石祐介 Yusuke Oishi
GRAPHIC DESIGNER/ @zenyunzon