Zero Movie Press Kit

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Zero Movie Press Kit is an A4 booklet released in Japan to promote Fatal Frame: The Movie. It was most likely distributed to journalists around the time of the movie's release to help spread accurate information. It contains basic information about the movie and the Fatal Frame series, a story summary, short profiles of the major characters, an interview with writer/director Mari Asato, and some trivia about the production of the movie.

Mari Asato Interview

The English content of this page features unofficial fan translations.
The original work is a horror game, but how was the movie made?

Developing from the worldview of the game, I started by trying to create a highly fictionalized horror story that was a little out of this world, and where you can't really tell when or where it takes place. Eiji Otsuka, who is also a folklorist, is writing the novel version of this work, and I talked with him about the setting and we worked on it together. Although the atmosphere is different from the game, the special world of beautiful girls, the Camera Obscura that takes pictures of ghosts, and the use of water as a focal point are linked to the game.

Why didn't you choose a specific era?

When it comes to Japanese horror over the past 10 to 20 years, there have been a lot of stories about high school girls set in the city, so I felt like I didn't want to do something like that now... I wanted to create a horror film with a slightly different tone, so I had many discussions with Mr. Otsuka and the producer Mr. Kobayashi, while referring to classic movies. It's set in a closed school, with a girl-only world, and includes yuri elements... I wanted to show today's junior high and high school students that there are horror movies like this, with a slightly strange and unusual worldview.

Why did you choose 'Ophelia' as a central motif in your work?

Ophelia was Mr. Otsuka's main theme. Overall, I tried to keep an aesthetic view of the world in mind, but even though beautiful things are beautiful, they can also be scary. I think Millais's painting of 'Ophelia' that appears in the film is truly a beautiful but scary work. There are some scenes that recreate this, but this time I aimed for a quiet sense of surprise and terror, rather than shocking depictions of blood splattering everywhere. I was conscious that the depiction of the girls' bodies in the water and the scenes of the ghost standing motionless in the middle of the day are both beautiful and frightening.

Where did the idea for 'a curse that only affects girls' come from?

I think girls have a very high ability to empathize. There are times when one person says something, but everyone is joined together by the chain of feelings. Even if they don't know whether or not it's true, the group gets stirred up by it. So I think fear among girls can have a ripple effect.

I think that the uniform is one of the things that heightens the sense of empathy, and in the script you described the uniform as "like a chrysalis".

When I was talking with Mr. Otsuka, we got onto the question of, "What is the significance of uniforms?" Making teenagers all wear the same thing before they go out in the world... I believe they're a kind of protective clothing meant to defend us from the world, "something for protection". The original meaning of the uniform was to a covering for the body, as something to protect and conceal, not as something that could show the thighs and reveal underwear at any moment. But someday these girls will have to take these off in order to enter society. That was what I had in mind when I used the word "chrysalis" in the script.

Can you tell me about the aspects you paid particular attention to in the production this time?

When thinking about how to create an aesthetically pleasing worldview, I decided to try something a little different when it comes to depicting horror. People suddenly disappear in the mountains, or when you look down the hallway from inside a classroom, you see something there. We were particular about how we used that space. Also, it seems like you're supposed to see ghosts at night, but in this movie, that's not the case, and people disappear in the bright daylight. I wanted to make it so that someone who approaches in the daytime could be either a human or a spirit; I put a lot of effort into creating that kind of horror.

There are many young actresses in the cast, including the two leads. What did you keep in mind when casting?

Normally, I am not so particular about the difference between the actor playing the role and the actual age of the character, but for this production, I wanted the six main high school girls to be played by teenagers. I think the innocence and freshness that can only be found in girlhood will definitely be reflected on screen, and that was an important part of the work. Fujiko Kojima, who played Risa, was 20 years old, but she had the bearing of a teenager.

Please tell us why you chose Ayami Nakajo to play the leading role, Aya.

For the role of Aya, I envisioned an actress with a slightly otherworldly air. Although she is beautiful, she has a melancholy feel to her that makes her a bit difficult to approach. In reality, Ms. Nakajo is a bright and cheerful girl, but her appearance was perfect. Filming was all new to her so I think it must have been very difficult, but she worked hard and didn't give up till the end.

What about Aoi Morikawa, who plays Michi?

In contrast to the mysterious Aya, I wanted the role of Michi to be more of a standard, active girl who would be the eyes of the audience and evoke empathy. Ms. Morikawa looks great with short hair and has a unique presence. I think the mysterious Aya and the punchy Michi were really good at creating a fictional world.

Speaking of characters, Mary, played by Noriko Nakagoshi, has a strong impact.

I wanted to create a character who was aware of the ancient curse that had been passed down at the school, and who had the role of inheriting it. Mary is a woman from a family that has inherited a cursed Camera Obscura from generation to generation, and is a special person who watches over the girls at the school. I wanted the character to feel a little different, so I made sure there was a contradictory element. She wears lolita fashion in spite of her age, but actually she's working at a sandwich factory in town to support her child... I thought the bigger the difference, the more interesting it would be, and Ms. Nakagoshi really enjoyed the role. As for the adult female cast, we also cast people like Jun Miho and Yuri Nakamura, who still maintain some girlish innocence.

You've been directing horror films for a long time, but I feel that this film, like your previous film 'Bilocation', has a strong emotional component that delves into the psychology of women.

Rather than trying to be objective about the characters, I would rather try to create a story from their point of view. This is something I'm focusing on right now in my work.

It's also a story about girls growing up, isn't it?

Although it's a horror movie, I wanted it to be a teen movie as well. Girls who have been living in a closed world break out one by one and become adults. I likened the story to the rites of passage that everyone must go through in order to become an adult. They will never wear uniforms again... There's something sad but invigorating about it. I hope I could convey the feeling of "climbing the stairway to adulthood".

























Aya Tsukimori - Michi Kazato - Headmistress - Itsuki Kikunobe - Kasumi Nohara - Keiko Makino - Kuro Karatsu - Mary - Maya Tsukimori - Mayumi Asou - Mio Takaishi - Risa Suzumori - Susumu Kusanagi - Takashi Asou - Waka Fujii
The Girls' Curse - Ophelia's Song
Kusanagi Photo Studio - Seijitsu Academy
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