‘Buzzy Noise’ an inspiring experience for Takumi Kawanishi, Hiyori Sakurada; Actors Sit Down for Interview

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takumi Kawanishi, left, and Hiyori Sakurada

A live-action film adaptation of Jun Mutsuki’s popular manga “Buzzy Noise,” which offers a realistic depiction of the music scene, opened in theaters across the country on May 3.

Kiyosumi, the lead character, is a condominium caretaker who enjoys composing and playing music by himself on his computer, a hobby which shuts him out from the world. Ushio, who lives in the condo directly above Kiyosumi, has for some time been touched by his music. One day, a broken-hearted Ushio jumps into Kiyosumi’s room from the balcony, and both of their worlds start to change.

The film’s soundtrack was created by Yaffle, a music producer for Kaze Fujii and other artists, who has credits on a variety of film scores.

Kiyosumi is played by Takumi Kawanishi, a member of the popular boy band JO1. It’s his first time being cast as the lead in a film. Hiyori Sakurada plays Ushio, a key character who gets Kiyosumi to come out of his shell. Kawanishi and Sakurada recently sat with The Yomiuri Shimbun to talk about some highlights from the film and to share a little about themselves.

© Jun Mutsuki,Shogakukan/“BUZZY NOISE” Film Partners
Kiyosumi is seen in his room.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: What was the atmosphere like during the shoot?

Sakurada: In the first half, my social anxiety kicked in.

Kawanishi: Same with me.

Sakurada: The social anxiety was five to five between Mr. Kawanishi and me [in that we were equally anxious], but when it came to feeling of nervousness, it was more like 10 to zero because I’d already worked with the director, Mr. Hiroki Kazama, in the TV series “Silent.”

Kawanishi: Ms. Sakurada is fairly experienced in acting, but it was pretty much my first time. I learned many things from watching her.

Sakurada: I hope you’ll let me know what they were. (laughing)

© Jun Mutsuki,Shogakukan/“BUZZY NOISE” Film Partners
Ushio breaks in to Kiyosumi’s room.

Kawanishi: The scene that made the biggest impression on me was the one where Ushio breaks the window of my character’s room. Ushio’s sadness at that time and her feeling of wanting to break something to get someone’s attention came across strongly in just her facial expression. We were watching the monitor behind the set, and everyone was like, “Whoa!”

Sakurada: Hey, glad to hear that! Mr. Kazama is a director who is very particular about every detail, so he tends to make actors do many takes. But I got the OK from him for that scene after a single take.

Failing many times

The Yomiuri Shimbun: What did you find difficult about playing your roles?

Kawanishi: Kiyosumi is not a very talkative person, so it was hard having to show his emotions using only facial expressions and the direction and movement of my eyes. The director went to great lengths to explain many things to me. Although I could understand his words well, there were times when my abilities were not up to the task of doing what he told me to do. To be honest, I often thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t go [on set] tomorrow.”

© Jun Mutsuki,Shogakukan/“BUZZY NOISE” Film Partners
A poster for “Buzzy Noise”

Sakurada: The director told me about a lot of things, like the background of my character and her feelings from scene to scene. In addition to all that, he also said he wanted me to talk more about myself. He helped me bring out all kinds of things that had been asleep inside me, which I think I was able to reflect in portraying Ushio. But Ushio is a really wacky girl, so I got very conscious about how to achieve the right balance and how to portray her behaviors convincingly.

Kawanishi: I was able to last until the end thanks to all the staff, the director and Ms. Sakurada. I owe everyone in the truest sense of the word.

Sakurada: When the camera was not rolling, the staff and I were saying that while Mr. Kawanishi has many of Kiyosumi’s characteristics, he himself is direct and energetic. There’s no one but Mr. Kawanishi who can replicate Kiyosumi’s subdued personality and composed air.

Kawanishi: Really glad to hear that.

Sakurada: I struggled with the Kansai dialect, too.

Kawanishi: I had trouble, too. Even though I come from the Kansai region, I got lost on what to do.

Sakurada: You got more instructions than I did. (laughs)

© Jun Mutsuki,Shogakukan/“BUZZY NOISE” Film Partners
Riku (played by Shuntaro Yanagi) is a bassist who used to play in a band with Kiyosumi.
© Jun Mutsuki,Shogakukan/“BUZZY NOISE” Film Partners
Kotaro (played by Kai Inowaki), a childhood friend of Ushio, now works at a music label.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: What are some highlights from the film?

Kawanishi: Bonds with your friends and encounters with people can change your life. I hope that gets across because I’ve cherished meeting new people myself, too. That’s probably the point I want people to feel the most.

Sakurada: The impression I have is that the characters in this film are all very clumsy. You can try looking at your own troubles through any one of the characters’ eyes. I think the work will make you realize that there are various ways to solve your problems. And the scenes with musical performances are a must because everyone worked so hard on them.

Kawanishi: I practiced really hard. For finger drumming (making drum sounds by beating electronic pads with fingers), I took lessons and brought the (drum machine) home for about two months to practice.

© Jun Mutsuki,Shogakukan/“BUZZY NOISE” Film Partners
Kiyosumi resumes music making with Riku, right, watched over by Kotaro, left.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Both of you have successful careers in a wide range of fields. Is there anything you’d like to do next?

Kawanishi: I’m the kind of person who doesn’t think much about the future, but there are countless times when I’ve thought, “I want to play a role like this.” I really do want to do everything. This time, I’ve released the film’s theme song as a solo singer. I hope I can go on to release a song all by myself.

Sakurada: I think acting suits me, so I’d like to appear in various productions. Also, I tend to retreat to my home, so I want to broaden my mind by going to a bunch of different places and listening to many people’s opinions. It’s got nothing to do with my job, but I also want to try skydiving.

Kawanishi: You’d better hold back on that one. It’s dangerous and scary.

Sakurada: Why? How about doing it while shouting, “Buzzy Noise”? Maybe that’s lame. (laughs)

Takumi Kawanishi

Born on June 23, 1999, Kawanishi comes from Hyogo Prefecture and belongs to JO1, an 11-member boyband that has appeared in NHK’s “Kohaku Utagassen” (“Red and White Year-End Song Festival”) for two years in a row since 2022. He starred in the TV miniseries “Cool Doji Danshi” (“Play It Cool, Guys”) last year.

Hiyori Sakurada

Born on Dec. 19, 2002, Sakurada comes from Chiba Prefecture. She drew attention as a child actor in the 2014 TV miniseries “Ashita Mama ga Inai” (Tomorrow, mom won’t be here). She has been successful in modeling as well. Her filmography includes “Kokan Usonikki” (“Our Secret Diary”).