KAT-TUN’s Kazuya Kamenashi has been voted Best Actor in a leading role for “妖怪人間ベム (Yokai Ningen Bem)” in the 15th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix, reports Nikkan Sports.
The Drama Grand Prix had opened voting to Nikkan Sports readers at the end of March, asking them to pick their best choice of actors in dramas aired between April 2011 to March 2012. It has been reported people had liked the way Kamenashi put a lot of effort into making the drama, throwing out his popstar image to play his role.
The drama series was a live action adaptation of the Yokai Bem anime series from the 1960s, and there were a lot of negative comments from fans of the original series about whether a Johnny’s pop star could become a sad monster wanting to become human but unable to.
“Those ‘it’ll be impossible’ comments actually motivated me,” Kamenashi said.
It has been reported Kamenashi and the drama’s producers had decided there was no use making their lead actor look like Bem, they had to create him. The Johnny’s talent shaved his legs and arm pits in order to make his transformed self both monstrous and delicate. Kamenashi also studied his pet dog’s angry face and tried to imitate it when transforming into his character to give the character a more wolf-like expression. He even made sure he put enough effort into shots showing just a part of his body.
“Even if it was a bit of my arm, I tried to use my entire body to act it,” he said.
Kamenashi also said it was because of the support of his co-stars he was able to get through the series. During breaks he would be practicing lines with actress Anne (who played Bera) and child actor Fuku Suzuki (who played Bero), or play games with Suzuki and exchange opinions about make up products with Anne.
“Filming was a huge challenge, but we got through it because we helped one another. We’d carry around our scripts and debate about it, it was such an analog system.”
It has been reported a lot of Kamenashi’s votes came from people in the 20s to 50s. The drama series itself recorded high ratings in north-east Japan areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“I think I was very lucky to be a part of a project that focussed on human relationships, and things that make us happy that we take for granted. On top of that I get an award, I’m so happy. I hope it’s a sign that I was able to hint at those things through the angle we took.”