Wasabi - not a fairy tale (2023)
LOGLINE – Kano, a victim of bullying her entire life due to a scar on her face, discovers her hidden potential by carefully observing and connecting the dots in the events around her. However, a dramatic shift in her life alters her reality.
あらすじ – 顔の傷のせいで、常にいじめに遭ってきたカノ。だが、秀でた観察力で周りの出来事を注意深く分析し、つながりを見出すことで、自分に秘められた潜在能力を発見する。しかし、彼女の人生に劇的な変化が訪れ、現実が大きく揺るがされていく
Writer, Producer, Director.
Hemant Singh, writer of wasabi, found himself inspired to write the script for his film during the pandemic lockdown.
As he browsed the internet one day, he came across a video of a bullied child that immediately caught his attention. The global lockdown also provided Hemant with a moment of reflection, as he observed the frustration, anger, and deteriorating mental health of people worldwide. He also noted the increasing crime rates, such as rising hate crimes, police brutality, political assassinations, and ongoing wars, among others.
These challenging circumstances made Hemant determined to create a movie with a positive message that would inspire viewers to reflect on the importance of love and kindness in our world. While the events he witnessed certainly influenced the direction of his story, However the script itself is not linked to any specific incident or event.
Despite receiving advice to delay the production of his self-funded, low-budget feature film, Hemant completed the final draft of his script on January 11, 2022, and made a firm commitment to finish the film within the year. Given the limited budget, Hemant had to take on multiple roles, including writer, director, director of photography, executive producer, producer, gaffer, editor, colorist, VFX specialist, offline and online editor, to name a few.
Nodoka Matsumoto, executive producer of “Wasabi,” played a vital role in bringing this project to life, she poured her heart and soul into every aspect of its development, despite juggling a demanding full-time job. She began by meticulously reading and working on improving the script, and went on to take multiple roles as producer, coordinator, location scout, and creatives. With her unwavering dedication, Nodoka breathed life into every aspect of the film, from the striking poster design ideas to the memorable title, “Wasabi” creation. While “Wasabi” is Nodoka’s first feature film as an Executive Producer, she has previously produced work for tech companies with the director
Julian Koike as Kano/Wasabi
Julian Koike, the protagonist in “Wasabi,” was the first actor to be cast in the film, impressing the duo long before the movie’s creation during a previous job where all three worked together. The character Kano was developed with her in mind, showcasing her natural talent and potential. However, her contributions to “Wasabi” were not limited to acting alone. She became one of the core members who pushed the project from its inception, taking on various responsibilities such as rewriting dialogues in Japanese, casting talents and location scouting. Her dedication and hard work were invaluable to the successful completion of Wasabi.
Miho Fujiwara as Motoko
Miho Fujiwara, portraying the character of Motoko, the mother of Kano, is an accomplished stage actor with a wealth of experience in theatrical productions. Her impeccable acting skills, coupled with her perfect timing in delivering a range of emotions, are truly exceptional. Her hilarious portrayal during her audition made her an obvious choice for this role. In the movie, her personal charm adds a delightful touch to her character as Motoko, who plays a pivotal role in the story, and she delivers an outstanding performance that is truly remarkable.
Keisuke Nomura as Hiro
Keisuke Nomura, who portrays the significant character of Hiro in the movie, is a highly regarded and immensely talented actor in the realm of stage plays. Although initially auditioning for a different role with a slightly negative character, his exceptional audition left a lasting impression on everyone involved. With his perfect facial features, he proved to be the ideal match for the director’s envisioned portrayal of Hiro. As a result, Keisuke was approached by the director and producer, who eagerly offered him the role, which he graciously accepted. Keisuke devoted himself to the role, studying every aspect of Hiro’s character meticulously, both in terms of behavior and appearance, to achieve an outstanding performance that perfectly embodies the character.
Honoka Kawabe as Rie
Honoka Kawabe, who portrays the character of Rie in the movie, plays a crucial role as the only friend of Kano. Her character is pivotal, as the story requires a young girl with an extremely cheerful and positive demeanor, who can bring a sense of hope and humor to the plot. The director and producer knew that casting for this role would be difficult, as it required a specific type of character. Despite receiving several applications, none of the candidates matched the vision that the director had in mind. However, when Honoka met with the director and producers, they were able to see that her personality in real life closely matched the character of Rie in the movie. This realization led to Honoka being cast in her first feature film, a well-deserved achievement for her.
Yuta Inoue as Yuta
Yuta Inoue, who portrays the character of Yuta in the movie, is an outstanding actor with a natural talent
for acting. He seems to have been blessed with the ability to effortlessly portray any character with
minimal practice. His versatility as a young actor is unparalleled, and he possesses all the attributes that
one would look for in a cast member, from his screen presence and looks to his height. During his
audition, the director was immediately struck by Yuta’s impressive talent, and within the first 20-30
seconds, and knew without a doubt that Yuta was the perfect fit for this role in the movie.
Kohei Mashiba as Matsumoto
Kohei Mashiba, who portrays the character of Matsumoto, a Japanese yakuza and the leader of the notorious Matsumoto cartel.
The role demanded a specific image, where the character must be able to instill fear in others without even uttering a word. Finding an actor who could match this visual image was a significant challenge for the director. However, at the perfect moment, Kohei approached the production team when the director was close to giving up on the casting process. With Kohei’s striking physical appearance and powerful presence, he proved to be the ideal fit for the role of Matsumoto, delivering an outstanding performance that perfectly embodies the character’s intimidating persona.
Kei Ichimura as Taro/Ken
Kei Ichimura, who portrays the characters of Taro in the movie, Despite the time and budget constraints,
the casting team had to find an actor who could fit the role based on a specific requirement. Initially, the
role was offered to someone else, but the director was unsure about their suitability for the part.
Coincidentally, the original actor decided not to take the role, and later, the director ran into Kei for a brief
moment. Seeing Kei’s talent and potential, the director was immediately convinced that he was the right fit
for the roles of Taro, and he was casted immediately without any formality.
A Hema films Production
Director & Writer – Hemant Singh
Executive Producers – Nodoka Matsumoto & Hemant Singh
Producers – Nodoka Matsumoto & Hemant Singh
Casting by – J Journey LLC
Assistant Director – Saki Hagiyama
Music Composer – Rio Sato
Sound Operator – Kota Matsukawa & Hiroyuki Kiriyama
Sound Engineer, Foley & Sound Designing – Hiroyuki Kiriyama
SFX Makeup/Hair – Nana Yamabe
BTS – Hiro Shoji
Camera Assistant – Kwok Chinghim
Lighting Assistant – Kwok Chinghim, Ryuta Konuma
Production Supervision/ Management – J Journey LLC
Location Coordinator – Shinichi Uematsu
Line Producer (Post-production) – Thomas Ash
Editor (offline & online) – Hemant Singh
VFX – Hemant Singh & Sebastian Narsing
Colorist – Hemant Singh
Illustration -Akhil Soni
Japanese Script Translation – Masaki Kato
Japanese Script Editor/Supervision – Julian Koike