by Chris MaGee
Way, way back in January of 2008, even before the J-Film Pow-Wow blog existed, a story circulated online about how Shinya Tsukamoto was holding an open casting call to looking for talent for a proposed project titled "Bullet Man". The ad ran something like this:
"A caucasian or a half caucasian male actor in his 20’s to 30’s is wanted. Must be fluent in English. Tokyo resident is preferred. Must be able to be in the production from June to September this year."
Then after that story ran the trail went cold. There were no other news briefs, no spoiler images, crumbs of information... nothing. I must tell you that any additional information on "Bullet Man" quickly became the Japanese film blogging holy grail around these parts, but it wasn't until today that the other shoe dropped and news finally came out about the film... and it's big news.
Not only did Tsukamoto find his Caucasian male in photographer, filmmaker, and voice actor Eric Bossick (you can check out his website here), but the true nature of this "Bullet Man" film has been revealed. "Bullet Man" has a new working title: "Tetsuo Project".
That's right, folks, it looks like Tsukamoto, backed by Asmik Ace, is currently in post-production on the third film in what has become his "Tetsuo" series. Tsukamoto burst onto the international scene in 1989 on the strength of the first film "Tetsuo the Iron Man", a cyberpunk nightmare shot on black and white 16mm and starring Tomorowo Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, and Tsukamoto himself. It pummeled its viewers with the story of a man who is slowly transformed into a machine. Tsukamoto followed it up with a somewhat bigger budget sequel in 1992, "Tetsuo II: Body Hammer", but since then most fans of the 49-year-old filmmaker had assumed that he had permanently moved on from these early projects. Not so now as the promotional image of Bossick in character as a brand new man/ machine reveals.
I should couch my statement about how fans of Tsukamoto had assumed he'd moved on from "Tetsuo". In a 2002 interview with Midnight Eye Tsukamoto spoke about his ambitions for the continuation of the "Tetsuo" series, "I want to make 'Tetsuo' in America with a very detailed, American movie feel. I mean that if Tetsuo was a kind of distortion of horror films, then Tetsuo in America will be a distortion of 'Blade Runner' or the 'Alien' series." Then apparently none other than Quentin Tarantino spoke to Tsukamoto and urged him to bring his seminal creation back to life, which obviously he's been doing very quietly for the past year.
The other big news is that audiences will be getting a chance to see "The Tetsuo Project" very soon. Liz Shackleton at Screen Daily is reporting that Asmik Ace is prepping a cut of what they're describing as a "new Tetsuo for the 21st century" so that it can screen at the sales and buyers market at this year's Cannes Film Festival. If that's the case then expect more information on this to be leaking out in the very near future... and we'll do our best to have all of it here for you.
Thanks to Jason Gray for this exciting news.