NEZURA 1964 — Exclusive First Look At Concept Art For New Kaiju Movie!
A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE
SciFi Japan is pleased to close out 2019 with an exclusive look at an upcoming giant monster-themed movie: NEZURA 1964 (ネズラ1964), courtesy of 3Y Film.
The origins of this project date all the way back to the early 1960s. At that time, the Daiei Motion Picture Company was looking to replicate the domestic and international success that rival studio Toho had achieved with their monster movies featuring the likes of Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra. Taking further inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s worldwide smash THE BIRDS and recent news reports of a rat outbreak on an island in the Seto Inland Sea, Daiei began work on a movie about a swarm of rats, mutated to giant size by a new experimental food product, running amuck in Tokyo. Entitled NEZURA (大群獣ネズラ, Taigun-jū Nezura), the film was scheduled for a New Year 1964 release.
The production team for NEZURA initially planned to used rat puppets before deciding on real live rats. Miniature sets of Tokyo and other locales were built to make the rodents appear as giant beasts onscreen. Unfortunately, the rats would not perform as needed. Even worse, the sets — and crew — were soon overrun with fleas, ticks and lice. The use of pesticides to combat the problem resulted in unsafe working conditions and a warning from the health department. Beset with one problem after another, Daiei decided to shut down production of NEZURA. The sets were eventually used for GAMERA (大怪獣ガメラ, Daikaijū Gamera, 1965), a massive hit for the studio that launched a series of films about the giant flying monster turtle.
In 2002, Daiei was acquired by Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd., who merged the studio with their own film division to form the new Kadokawa Pictures. Kadokawa soon announced they would begin producing new feature films based on Daiei’s classic FX franchises. Up first was THE GREAT YOKAI WAR (妖怪大戦争, Yōkai Daisensō, 2005), a successful update of the 1968-69 trilogy about supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore. Kadokawa next attempted to relaunch the Gamera series with GAMERA THE BRAVE (小さき勇者たちガメラ, Chiisaki Yūsha-tachi Gamera, 2006), but the film flopped at the box office. Plans for a new movie based on the 1966 Daimajin trilogy of films about a giant living stone idolmwere scrapped, with the project eventually reworked as the 2010 television series, DAIMAJIN KANON (大魔神カノン). A second attempt to revive the Gamera series in 2015 also quickly fizzled out.
Enter writer/director Hiroto Yokokawa and his company, 3Y Film. Having recently completed work on his independent kaiju movie THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL (大仏廻国, Daibutsu Kokaiku), Yokokawa approached Kadokawa with a pitch entitled NEZURA 1964; a drama about the infamous unmade film and all of the troubles that led to it’s cancellation. In addition to offering a behind the scenes look at the production, Yokokawa would film FX sequences of an imagined completed version of NEZURA. Kadokawa approved the idea and is involved in its development and production, making NEZURA 1964 their first giant monster movie since the release of GAMERA THE BRAVE fourteen years ago.
Production of NEZURA 1964 will be handled by 3Y Film, with Hiroto Yokokawa serving as co-writer, producer and director. Yokokawa is also bringing back much of his team from THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL, including supervisor Kensaku Sakai, creature designer Keisuke Yoneyama, production artists Takuma Asai, Karin Yamada and Hiroto Yokokawa, and consulting producer/publicist Avery Guerra.
The announced cast features veterans from the Daiei/Kadokawa Gamera films alongside performers from THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL. Fan favorite Yukijiro Hotaru has numerous kaiju films roles in his credits, including the Gamera Trilogy, GODZILLA, MOTHRA, AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ 大怪獣総攻撃, Gojira, Mosura, Kingughidora: Daikaiju Soshingeki, 2001), REIGO (深海獣レイゴー, Shinkaijū Reigō, 2005/2008) and RAIGA (深海獣雷牙, Shinkaijū Raiba, 2009). Actor, playwright and director Masanori Kikuzawa and Kazuma Yoneyama were both in THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL. Himawari Ono makes her much welcomed return to kaiju since her small but pivotal role in GAMERA THE BRAVE. The in-demand Ippei Osako appeared in (SHIN GODZILLA (シン・ゴジラ, Shin Gojira, 2016) and DEATH NOTE: Light up the NEW World (デスノート Light up the NEW world, Desu Noto Light up the NEW world, 2016). Yoshiro Uchida was the child star of the original GAMERA, who made his acting return in THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL.
NEZURA 1964 is scheduled for a December 2020 release in Japan. Be sure to follow the film on Facebook for updates.
Produced And Directed by Hiroto Yokokawa
Written by Hiroto Yokokawa & Kensaku Sakai
Cast: Yukijirō Hotaru / Masanori Kikuzawa / Kazuma Yoneyama / Himawari Ono / Ippei Osako / Yoshirō Uchida
Art staff: Takuma Asai / Karin Yamada / Hiroto Yokokawa
Concept art by Takuma Asai
“Mammoth Nezura” design by Keisuke Yoneyama / Yukijirō Hotaru
Consulting Producer / Publicist: Avery Guerra
Brain: Kensaku Sakai
Production: 3Y Film
Planned and Collaborated with: KADOKAWA
About 3Y Film
3Y Film is part of the video production company 3Y Co., Ltd. Founded in 2015 by Hiroto Yokokawa, 3Y has been involved with the production, filming, photography, editing and CG effects for commercials, movies, stage productions and corporate videos. The company has recently branched out into their original productions such as the feature film THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL.
About Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.
Kadokawa Pictures is part of Kadokawa Shoten, which forms the axis of the expansive KADOKAWA CORPORATION. Kadokawa Shoten has maintained the company’s traditions since its founding, while continuously seeking to innovate at the same time. With their core operations based in publishing and film, represented by the Kadokawa Paperback, Kadokawa Pictures, and Kadokawa Anime labels, they continually release a wide range of content targeted to all age groups.