Though it was at Berlin Film Festival in 2014 where we first saw the wonderful Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter – it was at this year’s event where we were able to catch up with lead star Rinko Kikuchi, who was there promoting the opening night film, Nobody Wants the Night. We spoke about touring the festival circuit, getting in to the head of the troubled protagonist Kumiko, and what the future holds for this immensely talented actress.
Yes, absolutely. I was in my 20s and saw a lot of films back then. Fargo was one of my favourites and so the project really appealed to me.
The film, though whimsical and comical in parts – is really sad and upsetting. Is that something you take out of it too?
It was all in the script and I liked it from my first read. David and Nathan had already put a lot of ideas in to the script so all I had to do was to interpret and perform.
Was Kumiko a challenging role for you? Because she’s got a few issues – but it’s all very subtle.
In fact, it was really fun playing her. For me, it makes it all worthwhile when I’m challenged.
Were you able to relate to Kumiko in experiencing America for the first, remembering when you first went to the US?
Yes. New York was the first place I ever visited in the US. No matter where you go for the first time, you always have expectations and your expectations always betray you. I always do some research beforehand, wherever I go, so I’m not like Kumiko in that sense.
What is David Zellner like to collaborate with?
It was a lot of fun working with him. He’s always full of ideas. He made sure I had the time and space that I needed to create my role. I would love to work with him again.
You still make movies in Japan too – do you enjoy moving between the US and home, and making movies in both?
I’m very satisfied with the professional environment that I find myself in. I’m very lucky and I hope I will be able to continue working this way.
Must be nice to be back in Berlin again this year – are festival tours something you enjoy?
It’s fun to get together with the director and cast again but it also makes me nervous to see how the audience reacts. I’m grateful that the festival gave us a chance to reach that audience.
You’re there promoting Nobody Wants the Night, how was that experience for you?
This is my second time working with Isabel. I had wanted to work with her again so I was happy to work on the project, not to mention have the opportunity to work with Juliette Binoche. It was like a dream come true.
And what is next for you now – anything in the pipeline?
I’m working on a film in Japan now. I have also begun my musical career and my album will be released in April in the US and Europe.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is out now – and you can read our review here.