About a year ago, visitors to the ANA InterContinental Hotel in Akasaka got a treat when they saw Leonardo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe filming a scene from their new movie "Inception." The action later moved up to the hotel’s heliport during two very busy days of filming, before the team headed off to five other countries.
“I’m glad we started here in Tokyo because this is the sort of film that will appeal to the cerebral and surreal nature of Japanese audiences,” said DiCaprio, 35, back in Tokyo for his second visit in four months. Joining him were Watanabe, director Christopher Nolan and producer Emma Thomas.
"Inception" is probably the most original movie of the year, dealing with a team of “extractors” led by DiCaprio’s character, who enter the dreams of their targets and steal top secrets. Only this time, a billionaire (Watanabe) wants the team to go into the mind of a rival and plant an idea so that so he will awaken and act on it as if it were his own. “This is a very rare film to come out of the Hollywood system,” said DiCaprio. “It has a multi-dimensional plot structure and it’s thought-provoking. Too many films these days, especially summer ones, look like they have just been recycled from other plots.”
Nolan, 40, said he first started writing the script about 10 years ago. During that time, the British director has made a name for himself with films such as "Memento," "Insomnia," "Batman Begins," "The Prestige" and "The Dark Knight." “The studios and audiences crave novelty but they tend to go with what they know,” he said. “The trick is to convince the studio that what you’ve got is the novelty that audiences will respond to. For me, the dream world was a very inviting theme. Dreams feel real and for the most part, the dreamscape is familiar. All we needed was a peculiar twist.”
And that’s what we get with Paris streets that fold up like a map, characters floating about a hotel corridor in a gravity-defying fight scene, a train roaring through the streets of LA upside down and so on. “There wasn’t a day on the set when we weren’t totally flabbergasted,” said DiCaprio. “But I really enjoyed the emotional sequences. Without those, the film wouldn’t work. I think I had more existential conversations with my fellow actors than I have ever had before.”
Watanabe, 50, said "Inception" was unlike anything he had ever seen before. “Nolan is a visionary, like the Da Vinci of filmmaking,” he said. “I used to look at the script with all its scientific and literary intricacies and parts and I couldn’t imagine how he was going to put it all together. He was always discussing each character with the actors. At the outset, he suggested that I should play my character a bit like James Bond. The only trouble with that, I told him, was that there was no Bond girl for me.”
Before coming to Tokyo, the stars visited London, Paris and LA to promote the film, and at each stop, DiCaprio said the most commonly asked question was whose head he would like to get into, if he could. “I wouldn’t want to go into anyone’s mind,” he insisted. “There is no telling what is rattling around in some people’s heads.”
However, he may have to, since he is in talks with Clint Eastwood to play J Edgar Hoover in a film which will depict the secret life of the notorious longtime FBI director. Nolan, meanwhile, will be heading back to familiar territory – with a third, as yet untitled Batman film. “Batman has been very good to me,” he said. “The first two films opened up a lot of doors for me.”© Japan Today