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[PIFF] Beyond Frame: Interview with Masaya Kato

2007/10/11 Source

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Now turning to the Pusan International Film Festival, where movie lovers are packing the streets of the port city not ONLY to watch premiers but to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars.
Arirang's Lee Jeewon caught up with Japanese actor Masaya Kato for this report.
It was the late 80s when Masaya Kato launched his career in entertainment.
He began as a model but moved on to become one of the most world-recognized Japanese actors of his time.

"I'm a bit short as a model at that period, Greek sculpture.
That's why I decided to do something else. At that time fashion models were popular in the movie industry".

Despite the smooth transition from modeling to acting, he decided to push himself further.

"On the other hand I worried about my future. A model becomes actor, a lead actor at that.
I felt the need to study more to build foundation. That why I moved to the U.S. to study acting and English. To think about my future. I want to do acting forever but I needed the skill so that's why I studied. Normal world we have to study. Theory after theory".

He was also quick to point out that the film biz is riddled with stereotypes.

1. You've played a lot of Yakuza characters, why do you think that is, and how do you feel about it?

"Because in Western movies mainly an Asian guy is a villain the Bad Guy. That's why I played a psycho guy, a serial killer and a yakuza. Afterward one agent picked me that's why I moved there. And afterward even when I go to audition, people give me some villain role. That's why I played a lot of villain roles".

Kato also noted that an entertainer's success rests in the public's hands.

"One actor is very famous now. But maybe he was born 30 years ago. He is not a star. Maybe age is different. When I look at old star, he cannot be a star now".

Throughout our interview, the 44-year-old emphasized the importance of education.

"I was surprised to know why Korean movies became so good suddenly. I heard the new generation went to the United States and Europe to study filmmaking and come back that's why. It's clear, study! If you don't study, you can't do anything. Normal world you keep studying.
Even after you become famous, you have to study; learn something new".

Lee Jeewon, Arirang News.

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