Gamera 2006 Filming Report
Roger Shanks, July 13, 2005
Source: Photos by Roger Shanks
|Gamera 2006 (Photo by Roger Shanks)|
FIlm student Roger Shanks was on hand for the filming of Gamera 2006 as an observer and extra.
Right now I'm on holiday in Japan, since the 1st of June until the 8th of August. Every now and again I go to an Internet cafe to contact the family back home or organize transport to where ever I was going next. I saw on Monster Zero that they were looking for extras for the new Gamera movie and that they were shooting in Iseshima. I was in Osaka which was only about two hours away from Iseshima and I had no real plan about where I was going so I decided to head down and see if I could get a place.
They told me that they didn't need foreigners for extras. I had put down that I studied film in college on the application and that I would like to at least watch the shoot. They said I could watch and that they would be shooting in Nakiri on the 9th and 10th of July.
On the 9th of July they started shooting at 9. They were shooting a scene where a wounded Gamera was driven down a street in Nakiri. Basically a police bike, an army jeep, an truck with Gamera (with a wound to his neck) strapped to the back and a police car drove down the street and under the bridge while people looked on. The child who was Gamera\'s friend sees the truck and runs down the road after it.
The road was small so for each take they either would have to reverse all the vehicles back to starting positions or let them drive on and drive around a long way back to the start.
Because of this they didn't use the actual vehicles for rehearsals. Sometimes it was just the police bike or a man holding his hat or a book up in the air (to represent the height of the Gamera Model). I remember in the first rehearsal there was just the police bike. The police man directing the parade kept waving his hand miming to imaginary vehicles. At first I thought that it would be CGI tanks added in post production and a part of me sank.
Then they went for the first take with the actual Gamera model. It was a big surprise - I couldn't stop grinning. There was a lot of press there taking photos and video. I asked the man who seemed to be dealing with the press if I could take some pictures. He said only the press had permission to take pictures. I could understand his situation but couldn't resist taking a few anyway. They shot this sequence stopping when it rained to hard and continuing when it started to stop. Towards the end the rain was just too heavy and they decided to stop for lunch and get ready to shoot the next scene.
One of the guys on the crew invited me to lunch. I tried to explain that I was just a visitor and had nothing to do with the film. He said it was okay so I had lunch with the extras. We ate in Nakiri Elementary School (this was probably the unit base for this part of the shoot). During the lunch Kaku-san (thats probably spelled wrong), the man who played Gamera during the rehearsals, saw me and asked me if I spoke English. I told him I did. He asked me if I could come back the next day. I said I could. He brought me down to the school gym where they were shooting the next scene and let me be an extra. The scenario was that the school gym was a refuge for people whose houses had been destroyed. Kaku-san got me to write a message to my family in English. On that day we just had to my down and sleep. We finished at about six. At the end of the day we all got a free Gamera T-shirt.
The next day I arrived and had breakfast with the other extras. As I was eating breakfast I saw a drawing by the door. They had large white cardboard squares which they put on a stick to represent either Gamera or his new enemy Jidas like a flag. This flag I saw then was for Jidas. The drawing was of a dinosaur shooting fire from his mouth. It had spiky skin and appeared to have a frill thing around its neck. In my mind I liken it to Godzilla 2000 or Megaguirus' design but it doesn't really look much like that. They started shooting at 9. They shot the rest of the wounded Gamera sequence. Kaku-san explained that Nakiri had been attacked by Jidas and that Gamera had saved them. Jidas retreated back to the sea - Gamera had won but had been fatally wounded in the fight. Now the JSDF were trying to help him. He told me that I could take a rest during this scene - I was probably too different to fit into the crowd.
After they finished this shooting we had lunch. It was a very long lunch. They probably shot some scenes where they didn't need all the extras.
The next scenes were back in the gym. The main focus of the scene was the boy and his father. They talked about Gamera or something (I couldn't find the subtitles). I was in the background with my new friend Satoru, a 12 year old Japanese boy. There were a lot of people in uniform giving out aid etc.
There were also people giving out one-sheet newspapers. They featured a story about what had happened and had a picture of Jidas crushing some small houses. The picture was a bit grainy and there was a lot of smoke but Jidas looked fairly much like the drawing.
At one point the director went around the crowd giving out instructions. He spoke very good English (not even a Japanese accent) he explained that me and Satoru should just keep talking -that this was before the other shots and that it had to match.
We shot this scene all night and I got a couple of walk ins front of the camera or behind the action shots which I hope will make the final film. The last shot was of the crowds sleeping. I slept for real and awoke to the clapping of everybody at the end of a good take. At the end of this day we all got 2 Gamera T-shirts (maybe because many people had to leave throughout the day and couldn't stay the whole night).Unfortunately all were large size.
I got back to the hostel at 3:30 in the morning. Five hours after curfew. I ended up sitting on a bench by the sea watching the sun rise (at about 4) and went the rest of that day with no sleep but it was well worth it.
NOTE: Gamera 2006 photo gallery