Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, premiered this week in Sydney – ahead of its Australia wide release on January 15th. In the film, singer Miyavi plays Mutsushiro “The Bird” Watanabe, a World War II POW camp guard. We spoke to him earlier in the year about the performance and are excited to be able to share that chat with you today:
Lets have a chat about the movie you recently filmed in Australia with Angelina Jolie titled ‘Unbroken’. It flew under the radar a little bit, because we didn’t know you were in Australia?
Miyavi: Where are you from? Sydney? I was there! I played for the movie crew at a secret show at the Metro.
We didn’t know about this!
Miyavi: Yes because it was only for the movie crew and because Angie wanted to share my music to the crew. The crew of course knew about me as an actor on set and they started checking my music since we started shooting but they have never seen my performance live. Angie always said she wanted to share my music to the crew members. The crew was really awesome, they are all so professional and just…how to say….so experienced! The Director of Photography shot Shawshank Redemption and James Bond. So, at the secret gig in Sydney we had a lot of fun. Angelina Jolie was dancing in front of me! I really wanted to thank her. Its all thanks to her, she’s absolutely amazing, I learned and gained many things from her.
How was the actual shoot itself? How did you find it? Was it an easy shoot?
Miyavi: No no it was a really hard shoot. But it was fun. Actually I kind of noticed that I’m more talented in acting than singing.
You discovered your acting side? Do you prefer acting?
Miyavi: I don’t know if I prefer acting to singing. It was just the role I played was really sensitive; the story itself is really sensitive. There were lots of world issues. I wanted to be really responsible because my role was an actual person, the Japanese guy, who is supposed to be in jail as a criminal. But the story is based off a book so its kind of controversial. So of course I did not want to represent the negative side of Japan, my country. At the beginning I was not sure if I should take this opportunity as an actor. I spoke to Angie when I first met her in Tokyo. She told me, before I asked her, she said that she wanted to make something meaningful. Something that could be the bridge between America and Japan and also the countries which are currently in conflict. It could be happen anywhere, it might be happening somewhere now.
It’s a big responsibility.
Miyavi: Yes, that’s why I decided if someone is going to do this role as a Japanese, I would do that role responsibly. Its kind of risky especially for me since I’m half Korean also. So sometimes some Japanese people say “oh half Korean, half Japanese blah blah blah”. We’re still having tension or conflict with the countries next to Japan so that’s why I was really sensitive with the role. In the end I was proud of what I did, it was great experience. I think I did well.
Unbroken comes out next year?
Miyavi: Actually this year around Christmas time in US and Europe. Asia next year.
You said before you worked really closely with Angelina Jolie. What is it like to be with her on a day to day basis on the set?
Miyavi: She is of course an amazing actress but she is also a great artist. She knows that she has a mission, to deliver a message to the world. That’s how I agree with her. I sympathise with her. She is very serious about making this movie as a Director, as its creator. So yes, everyday she was on set working so hard. Because she’s a great actress she can show the facial expression with the emotion we need on set, we can kind of use that as a reference.
Now you did this movie role is there scope for other movie roles in the future?
Miyavi: If there’s a role to do, I would love to do it but you know it just depends on the opportunity.
Is there a particular role you would like to play?
Miyavi: No, you know mainly making music is my life. Acting was really fun and I found a similarity before singing and the emotion in performing. It was really good learning with professional people, their attitude with way they work.
Maybe we will see you at the premier of Unbroken?
Miyavi: You know I really loved Australian people, but sometimes its really hard to catch their accent.
I hope you understood my accent?
Miyavi: Yes I do! Everyone in Ausralia was really nice. Everyone is really familiar with the movie industry. I love Australia, seriously. In Australia I was impressed by the balance of the nature side and city side. It’s a really good balance, we can go to the beach anytime. I really love having no jetlag from Tokyo too. I enjoyed myself a lot. My family came with me to Australia. We actually went to many zoos with Angie’s family as well. Three zoos in fact! We saw Koalas, saw Kangaroos, we fed the giraffes and saw the rhinos. It was kind of a secret zoo tour but that was awesome. I really love Australia.
Miyavi we wish you all the best for the premiere of Unbroken
Miyavi: Thank you very much.
Unbroken opens in Australia on January 15th. For more from our interview with Miyavi, head HERE.