Takuya Kimura: Always a Hero
A-list Japanese actor Takuya Kimura has played maverick public prosecutor Kohei Kuryu four times in 15 years, but he never gets tired of his character’s tenacity and doggedness.
The 42-year-old 90s heart-throb and pop singer — who shot to fame as a member of J-pop boy band SMAP and headlined popular dramas like Long Vacation (1996) and Beautiful Life (2000) — reprises his role in new mystery-comedy Hero, which is currently showing here.
The film reunites the suave veteran star with his on-screen love interest, ex-paralegal Maiko Amamiya (Takako Matsu), as they battle bureaucracy while investigating a fatal traffic accident.
Both Kimura and Matsu were in the original 2001 TV drama and the 2007 movie spin-off. Matsu sat out the second season of the drama, which aired in Japan last year.
Kimura, who has two teenage daughters with singer-actress Shizuka Kudo, tells The New Paper in an e-mail interview why it’s always challenging to play a rule-bending legal professional...
You’ve played Kohei Kuryu for more than a decade. How do you keep him exciting and refreshing?
It really helps that he’s someone who is very firm and steady. There is nothing much to think about when I play him. When I’m in his shoes, I will always tell myself, “If it were Kuryu, he would definitely do this.” Kuryu’s way of handling issues is like a formula that never changes, so it is easy to come to a solution.
What is the most appealing part about Kuryu?
The appeal lies not just with Kuryu, but the entire cast. A title like Hero may seem pretentious, but our story is basically about ordinary people.
This movie revolves around a group of people — public prosecutors — with no special ability or special powers whatsoever. But I think precisely because of that, there are infinite possibilities as to what these people can achieve.
Our ensemble of characters are so passionate about what they do that they become “heroes” in their own right. I think that if our plot didn’t revolve around ordinary people, the Hero franchise would not have enjoyed such popularity for such a long time.
The last time you paired up with Takako Matsuwas in the 2007 Hero movie. How did it feel to reunite with her?
The existence of Maiko Amamiya is of great significance to Kuryu. I really felt that. Due to the presence of Amamiya, Kuryu specially reminded his current paralegal Chika Asagi (played by Keiko Kitagawa), “Do not compare yourself with Amamiya”. These words corresponded with my own feelings towards both female characters, thus I acted the scenes out according to my feelings.
Reprising the same roles together for the first time since 2007, Takuya Kimura (right) reunites with actress Takako Matsu in Hero . PHOTO: ENCORE FILMS
Are you sad that your characters didn’t get together eventually?
In this movie, the romantic relationship between Kuryu and Amamiya remains unclear till the end. It’s not a bad thing. If it was properly finalised, maybe the story would become sort of boring.
It’s interesting how Kuryu does not understand his own attraction to women. He gives out “signals” he doesn’t feel himself, and is not receptive of the body language of others.
Oddly enough, he has a “Kuryu’s Formula” to solving all sorts of problems at work, but his formula does not apply to the women in his life. (Laughs)