• Tn2_large

    The illustrious résumé of Tatsuya Nakadai doubles as a snapshot of Japanese cinema in its golden age. Starting in the 1950s, the wildly prolific actor made a career out of shape-shifting, amassing credits in a wide range of films that run the gamut from devastating humanist tragedies to breathtaking action and science fiction. Now eighty-four, Nakadai paid a visit to New York late last year, and while in town he stopped by the Criterion office to talk with East Asian cinema scholar Aaron Gerow about five of the master filmmakers who shepherded some of his finest performances to the screen: Masaki Kobayashi, Akira Kurosawa, Mikio Naruse, Kihachi Okamoto, and Hiroshi Teshigahara. Today, we’re premiering that conversation on the Criterion Channel along with a series of nine classics that showcase the actor at the height of his powers. In the below excerpt, Nakadai sheds light on one of his most iconic moments as a samurai hero, recounting his experience shooting his blood-gushing climactic face-off with Toshiro Mifune in Kurosawa’s Sanjuro.

1 comment

  • By ExtantHatchet
    April 18, 2017
    12:53 AM

    What a great interview. Nakadai is as charming at 84 as he was in his young manhood, and he seems to be incapable of expressing a false or insincere note. I believe that he and Cary Grant are the two greatest film actors the medium has produced - both men were/are not just unbelievably charismatic, but they could/can modulate their intrinsic charisma into almost any rhythm required for the material they were/are serving. It's telling that Nakadai credits his wide-ranging success to the fact that he turned down the money promised by a studio contract and instead chose to work at lower rates so he could be free to act for directors/material he liked (and continue his career on stage). This kind of sacrifice for one's art is as uncommon as it is necessary, and that Nakadai would do so is utterly in keeping with the great humanity he projects on screen. Thank you Nakadai-sama, you are truly one of a kind.