The Exclusive Interview with Nao from Fuji Television’s Thursday Night drama “Even If You Don’t Do It.”
From “Even If You Don't Do It”
Q: What was your reaction when you received the offer for this work?
Actually, I had read the original comic “Even If You Don't Do It” before. It was really interesting, and I was excited to see where the story would go. When I received the offer to appear in the adaptation, I was surprised that it was going to be made into a drama series! I also thought it would definitely be an interesting work. Although I felt a great sense of responsibility in taking on the role of Michi, I was very excited about it.
Q: How was it to read the script?
I was curious about how the story would be adapted from the ongoing original comic into a drama. I wondered whether the portrayal of the characters would be faithful to the original comic, or if the drama would add its own originality and essence to the story. It varies depending on the work. As for this drama, since it is a series, I thought that the script has been written in a way that makes the story feel more familiar and relatable to those who are living in the present. While delicately portraying the important aspects of the original work, the content can be enjoyed in a new way as a drama. So, I enjoyed reading the script myself as well.
Q: Michi seems to be an “ordinary woman,” but how are you playing her?
I think it's really difficult to play “ordinary.” Nowadays, it's particularly easy to express one's individuality, and what is considered “ordinary” can vary from person to person. However, I believe that everyone has emotions such as “wanting to be loved by someone.” If I can convey those emotions through Michi, I feel like we can touch on what everyone considers “ordinary.” I think Michi is a protagonist who can make everyone nod and say, “I see what you mean” and feel a little affectionate towards her. So while reading the script, I thought that it would be best to portray not only Michi's good side, but also moments when she's a little cunning or when she becomes emotional due to her inexperience. I want to cherish and love those parts of her character too.
Q: What are the things you pay special attention to when playing the role?
Since there are many scenes in the script where Michi herself is struggling, I feel it would be good if we could get on the same boat as her. Of course, even after all of this, the story will continue, but I think that because Michi makes a decision after some hard thinking, there will always be something that will reach out to everyone whether it is right or wrong. It’s a very sensitive story, so it is important to understand which direction Michi's heart is pointing to, and what feelings lie deep within.
Q: Are there any aspects you can empathize with Michi?
I can really empathize with moments when Michi feels sad. This time, it's about “sexlessness,” which is a powerful word that might make you go, “Huh?” I think. Of course, this is the theme, but we try to carefully depict the troubles that couples have behind it, and whether there are happy moments or not. Michi feels lonely because she doesn’t feel desired by Youichi in both physical and emotional aspects, but if we unravel it, it's because she loves him deep down. That's why she gets hurt when it's treated like a small thing when she confesses to him. She feels anxious and her heart becomes unfulfilled, thinking, “Am I the only one who's worried? Isn't he thinking about our relationship?” I can really empathize with that. That's why Michi desperately tries to cling onto even the smallest things, such as the kindness and importance that he has shown her in the past. Living in the present is important, but I think everyone is inevitably supported by happy moments from the past, and that's what makes us people. I also empathize with Michi's such aspects.
Q: How about Eita Nagayama who plays Youichi?
This is our third time working together. It’s the first time I have spent such a long time acting while looking directly into one another’s eyes, and I'm happy to be able to work with him, who I deeply respect as an actor and senior in the industry. At first, I was nervous about creating the atmosphere of a couple that has spent a long time together in their married life. However, Eita-san understood my feelings, and before the filming started, he made time for us to chat together. We talked about various things, and he is such a big-hearted person that he received everything I said. During the three months of recording, he will be my emotional support and more. Although I don't have any experience in married life yet, Eita-san is a senior in this part too, so I’m able to consult with him frankly about those things, and I hope we are depicting Michi and Youichi like a real couple.
Q: What’s your impression of Takanori Iwata and his character Makoto Niina?
He is someone who’s very easy going. This is the first time I've met him, but he's easy to talk to and emits a gentle atmosphere, which is similar to what's being portrayed for the character of Makoto, the popular guy at work. I'm looking forward to continuously creating an atmosphere where the both of them are gradually drawn to one another’s qualities as we work together in the drama. Oh, there's something I have to mention here! On the first day we met, he gave me a present and said, “It was your birthday, wasn't it?” Can you believe that? It was our first meeting! He's such a nice person! (laughter)
Q: And how about Kaede Niina played by Minami Tanaka?
I have the impression of her as someone who delves into various things. From the drama’s poster, you can tell how Kaede is being conveyed. I hope to be able to work with her more in the coming scenes. I liked the hard-working character of Kaede from reading the original comic, so I feel that her efforts are linked together. So I’m always looking forward to seeing her on screen.
Q: What is the atmosphere like on set?
The atmosphere on set was very comfortable from the first day of filming because the staff had worked together before and had already established a team dynamic. Although I still feel a bit nervous, I hope to quickly relax and blend into the atmosphere of the set. The staff members have nicknames for each other, so I would like to be able to call them by these names by the end of the filming (laughter).
Q: Lastly, message for the viewers?
In the end, I believe that we cannot survive without human relationships. Especially, family is at the core of this, and creating one as a married couple is a new challenge, finding new happiness, and overcoming difficulties together. The characters in this drama struggle within the relationship of family, but their efforts to face and overcome them may be connected to everyone someday. I would be happy if this drama could be a trigger to face important people in your life and to above all for facing yourself.
Original article https://www.fujitv.co.jp/anataga_drama/interview/interview01.html