TV TOKYO’s New Year drama special “The Best Gift of Life” starring actress Satomi Ishihara will be broadcast on January 4, 2021 (20: 00-21: 54). This is an original work by screenwriter Yoshikazu Okada, who received the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2019, and directed by Kan Ishibashi, who received the Order of the Rising Sun in 2011. The story begins when the only daughter, Yuriko (Satomi Ishihara), suddenly returns to Ryosuke Sasai (Satomi Terao), a translator who is a former university lecturer, and so far the conversation between “father and daughter” has been slowed down. The two who weren’t there will communicate with each other. However, in reality, there was little time left in her daughter’s life. Ishihara was so involved in the work that he read the script and told the agency that he wanted to appear. This time, we interviewed Ishihara to talk about the charm of Okada’s script, the story of making roles, and his own view of the family.Satomi Ishihara Photo: Hiroshi Miyata
■ Family love and respect increased
――It was your first Okada work, but what was your impression when you read the script?
Okada-san I was a fan of the script work, so I’ve always wanted to come out. When I read the script this time, it seemed that I was sucked in from the first writing, and it seemed that my imagination was instantly stimulated. The exterior of the house is also written in detail, and there are so many “…” between the lines, it is a script that makes you imagine the line spacing and makes you think, and it is exciting to read to the end. Thank you. It makes my chest painful, but it’s very warm and kind, and there are no bad characters in the characters. It was a work that I wish I could show its beauty and preciousness.
――How was it when you actually played it?
When I saw the works in which Kasumi Arimura and Kyoko Koizumi appeared, I was wondering what kind of script it was as a viewer. It’s warm, laughable, and even though it has reality, it feels a little fantasy for some reason. I wanted to do a love story conversation drama someday, but this time my father and daughter’s work, I feel that they are writing by looking at people, which I leave to the performers, and I feel very love. I thought it was a script. While there are many scripts that pull the story, I think it’s very nice to hear from the characters that they believe in the actors and entrust them to them. Even after this work was finished, I was so captivated that I wanted to do it again (with Mr. Okada’s script) to various people.
――This time it was a work of a father and a daughter, but Yuriko is a honorific to Ryosuke and has a difficult relationship. Did Mr. Ishihara have any sympathy for you?
I lived in my parents’ house all the time, so I had a lot of conversations, but even so, I may still have more conversations with my mother. I was an absolute parent for myself, but when my mother got sick in my twenties, I spent the first time alone with my father in the hospital room, talking about my mother before I was born and my mother. For the first time, an equal conversation with my father was born. Since I had a sympathy for my mother every day, I was able to talk more often with two people, and from there I was able to talk like a friend, mother and daughter. I started to think, “Mom and dad had a time in their twenties,” and my feelings of love and respect increased. At that time, talking with my father alone was actually very courageous. The relationship between Yuriko and Ryosuke is completely different now, but I remember when I was almost never alone with my father, so I understood a little about that. However, unlike Yuriko, I wasn’t estranged from my father and spoke in honorifics, and I think I would be more casual and friendly (laughs). Yuriko, who sticks to honorifics, has a strong will in a sense, but I think she has the courage to interact with her father.
――Yuriko also had the courage to face her properly, so she took action.
Because I am a family member, I think it is very courageous to say “Thank you,” “I’m sorry,” and “It’s important.” This work shows that (Yuriko and Ryosuke) just think that it is important to be together, and even if Yuriko does not say “fun”, it feels like she is making rice with excitement with her father. And, just because the finished product is delicious, the fun is conveyed. I thought it was very precious. I’ve never collaborated like that, so through this drama I thought it was important to go home and eat together, watch TV together, or just play with pets.
■ “Overcommunication” to keep in mind at work
――It was Akira Terao who played the role of father this time, but what was your impression when you co-starred?
He loved me so much. Mr. Terao also saw my works so far and asked his impressions. For this work as well, he said, “I want to see Satomi Ishihara like this,” and he was always kind, friendly, and able to talk about various things, and he really treated me like a daughter. Actually, I met him several times in private after shooting, and I went to Mr. Terao’s Christmas live. The words you call are warm, aren’t they? It was really nice to meet Mr. Terao in this work because he gave me love like a father who cares for my daughter, and I thought it would be encouraging to see more people wrapping me in love.
――It’s your first time co-starring with Osamu Mukai, who plays your husband. I was surprised.
It was my first time co-starring, but I was talking so much that I couldn’t believe it was the first time (laughs). The role may have helped me, but I was always talking when I entered the play, but I felt comfortable when I was silent, and I thought he was a person who could speak without overdoing it. It made a very nice atmosphere, and the cast members at this site stayed as they were except when they were really playing, which made me feel comfortable.
――Is there anything that Mr. Ishihara himself keeps in mind at the site or at work?
Is it over-communication? I don’t think it’s going to get worse because of too much communication, so I only communicate with the staff to two matches. In the case of a cast, depending on the role, I have to talk too much and see what I’m doing, so I have a certain sense of distance, but I talk with the staff in great detail. I hear more than the cast about the creator’s thoughts, intentions, purposes, impressions, and opinions.
――Is there any reason for you to do so?
For example, movies are often released one year after they are shot, so when the director and staff greeted him at the toast after the first day, he said, “I was writing the script for four years.” “I was involved in the project for ten years.” I was surprised to hear that feeling. After all, I think that the transmission of the feelings of those who are serious and have a solid sense of purpose will lead to teamwork, so it is very important to talk with those who are making Zeroichi starting from planning.
■ Satomi Ishihara
Born December 24, 1986, from Tokyo. In 2002, after winning the Grand Prix of the 27th Horipro Talent Scout Caravan “Pure Girl 2002”, he started acting as an actress in earnest. Major appearances in recent years include the dramas “Unnatural” and “Born To Be A Flower” (18 years), “Heaven? ~ Goraku Restaurant ~” (19 years), “Ansang Cinderella Hospital Pharmacist’s Prescription” (20 years), The stage “Asia Woman” (19 years), the movie “Shinobi no Kuni” (17 years), “Financial Statement! Chushinzo” (19 years), etc.