• Film & TV

Live-Action Lupin III Spin-Off Available Worldwide; Tamayama Reprises Role of Jigen Daisuke

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tetsuji Tamayama, who plays Jigen, left, and Yoko Maki, who plays Adele

“Jigen Daisuke,” a live-action film starring the gunman and partner in crime of Lupin III from the popular Lupin III manga and anime series, is now available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video around the world. Tetsuji Tamayama reprised his role as the cool and nihilistic Jigen after playing the character in the 2014 film “Lupin Sansei” (“Lupin the Third”). Tamayama and Yoko Maki — who played the role of the assassin Adele — talked about the latest film.

Building confidence

“Lupin the Third” is a story about Jigen, Lupin (Shun Oguri) and Goemon Ishikawa (Go Ayano), breaking into a fortress with an impenetrable security system to steal a hidden treasure.

“Since everyone knows the Lupin series and it is highly regarded overseas, both Mr. Oguri and I put too much pressure on ourselves. As we started filming in a foreign country, we gathered together in the same room and talked about the film over drinks,” Tamayama recalled.

Jigen displays many facial expressions as he stands between two very different characters — the talkative Lupin and the silent Goemon.

“Because Jigen as a character is not clearly good or bad, Mr. Monkey Punch [Lupin III’s creator, who died in 2019] once said Jigen was the most challenging character. But he told me that he liked Jigen the most in the film, which gave me the confidence I have today. Partly because of that, I was able to get into the role smoothly this time,” Tamayama said.

Original comic books created by Monkey Punch ©2023 Amazon Content Services LLC or its Affiliates and TMS Entertainment Co.,Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Jigen shoots quickly and precisely.

In the latest film, Jigen visits Japan to get his favorite gun repaired. He meets the world’s best gunsmith Chiharu (Mitsuko Kusabue), and Oto (Kotoka Maki), a girl who cannot speak due to past trauma. While they spend time like a family, Oto is abducted by the assassin Adele, the leader of the notorious slum called Deigyo-gai town.

Adele uses a wheelchair, but she is capable of making cruel decisions without blinking an eye. To my surprise, Maki talked about the difficulties in playing the role, saying, “Her face is blank like a doll, which was difficult to act, as I would sometimes frown.”

“I thought it would be more scary if she killed people with the corners of her mouth lifted slightly in a smile. So I acted like that in my action scenes,” she added.

An impressive scene in the early part of the film is one where Adele shoots and kills members of a rival group while leaning back in her wheelchair.

“Since I am used to playing the role of a police officer, I am used to the posture of holding a gun. However, I found bruises on my arms after shooting the scene. I guess I hit my arms on the wheelchair many times,” she said.

“When I shoot a gun, I fully stretch out my arm, which is actually not good because firing a gun produces recoil,” she added.

Gun action

The highlight of the final part of the movie is a sequence of gun action scenes with Jigen as he infiltrates into an enemies’ hideout to save Oto. The sequence includes scenes from a street lined with food stalls, to a wide-open square to the inside of a building, taking enough time to show Jigen’s quick and precise shooting.

The scenes at an abandoned building in Fukushima were shot through the night and took two weeks.

Original comic books created by Monkey Punch ©2023 Amazon Content Services LLC or its Affiliates and TMS Entertainment Co.,Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Adele manipulates her wheelchair and shoots a gun.

“During the filming, I thought it was like the Rambo series. I don’t want to see Jigen have a tense face or sweat, because of his image in the anime series. Unlike Lupin, hand-to-hand combat is not Jigen’s specialty. I asked the filming staff to focus on such aspects,” Tamayama said.

In a scene around the food stalls, Jigen precisely shoots the enemies while distinguishing them from the bystanders, which was Tamayama’s idea.

“I enjoyed playing the character,” Maki said. She said she wanted the audience to pay attention to the change in Adele’s feelings. On the other hand, Tamayama sought to show a new aspect of the character in his second outing, while preserving his image.

“The highlight of the film is this new facet to Jigen’s character, which is unintentionally drawn out by Oto. Many people may not imagine that the cool guy Jigen can work hard for someone else.”

Asked about playing the character for a third time, the 43-year-old Tamayama said with a bitter laugh, “I would like to do so before I get older … but it’s already tough for me.”