Rila Fukushima Talks Fight Sequences, Similarities to the Comic, Working with Hugh Jackman, and More on the Set of THE WOLVERINE

     May 28, 2013

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In the latest trailer for The Wolverine, we see the character Yukio (played by Rila Fukushima) using her sword and kicking ass.  The character is from the Chris Claremont/Frank Miller Wolverine comic book series, but during a group interview on the set in Sydney, Australia last year, Fukushima explained the movie will show a different side of Yukio:

“I’m pretty sure there is a similarity from the graphic novels, at the same time there’s a completely different side of Yukio too.  I don’t know how much I can talk about the character but that’s something – the story is definitely different from the original comic.  Hopefully people can enjoy the different version.”

She also talked about her costume, what it’s been like acting in her first Hollywood movie, what her first day of shooting was like, filming the action, and so much more.  Hit the jump for what she had to say.

Before getting to the interview, watch the recent trailer:

Rila-Fukushima-The-Wolverine-imageQuestion:  Some of us saw you fighting over there, can you talk a little bit about what you were just filming?

RILA FUKUSHIMA:  Fighting scenes.  

A little bit more specific.

FUKUSHIMA:  More specific?  I don’t know how much I can talk about.

The whole movie.  You’re only allowed to tell us how it ends.

FUKUSHIMA:  My character, Yukio, is working for Master Yashida.  That’s the funeral for Master Yashida, so I basically travel to find Logan and bring him to Japan, working for Master Yashida.  Yukio is an orphan assassin.

Looking at your costume, it’s just a little saucy for a funeral, don’t you think?  What does that tell us about your character’s attitude?

FUKUSHIMA:  Actually, Yukio has such a great style in the whole film.  The costume designer insisted, I think she did an amazing work.  I’m pretty sure you guys saw the graphic novel version of Wolverine and I look a little different from the original character. But I think now it’s 2012 and I guess people are trying to make the new version of Yukio. 

In the graphic novel, your character is kind of freewheeling and she’s got a bit of a death wish. Is that something that is carrying on to your character in the film?

FUKUSHIMA:  I think so.  I’m pretty sure there is a similarity from the graphic novels, at the same time there’s a completely different side of Yukio too.  I don’t know how much I can talk about the character but that’s something – the story is definitely different from the original comic.  Hopefully people can enjoy the different version.

Rila-Fukushima-The-Wolverine-imageWe spoke to a costume designer before and she said that your character was probably – that she didn’t think that being a Japanese character like her before.  Is that sort of how you approached it?  Do you think she is a fresh and original character?

FUKUSHIMA:  She’s still a really cool agent assassin, I think, but really “streety” too, like grungy.

How did you prepare for the role?

FUKUSHIMA:  Talked to Jim and talked to Hugh, also read the script.  But I’m trying not to think too much about how to become a character and I’m still really new to acting.  This is the first time to join filming, so I’m trying – Yukio is very physical so a lot of things took long but it’s a lot of fun.  It has been a very amazing and challenging experience.  I’m having a lot of fun.

We spoke earlier with Tao and she told a similar story.  It’s also the first time for her.  Did you support each other? Did you give each other advice?

FUKUSHIMA:  We cheered up each other, “Let’s do it!”  We talk but we don’t really talk about the characters so much, more like taking care of how – we’ve never been to Sydney as well, so the way we eat, and the lifestyle is pretty different.  So we’re trying to help each other.  For example, when I have time to go to the grocery [store], I go for her – I know she got something for me.  That’s how we’re helping each other but we don’t really talk about characters.  I talk to Jim directly and she talks [to him].  She figures it out and I try to figure it out. 

the-wolverine-poster-yukioWhat was the first day of shooting like?

FUKUSHIMA:  The first day I was nervous but Jim is very wonderful to work with, he’s trying to make me relax.  He has a lot of positive energy and I feel like I’m going to be fine.  

You think you will stick with this career?  In other words, would you go back to modeling or now that you made a movie you want to make more?

FUKUSHIMA:  Yes.  I was taking acting classes on and off when I was modeling but I’ve never done anything until now.  Yeah, I definitely fell in love.  It’s a completely different process from modeling.  I definitely want to try more. 

With your very distinctive look and lots of action you get to do, I get a feeling that one day you’re going to get your own poster for the movie, there’s going to be an action figure of you.  It’s going to be a big deal.  Do you think that’s this kind of character?  She’s kind of a breakout character in that way?  Will fans really get excited about her?

FUKUSHIMA:  I hope so, yes.  I really like Yukio’s character.  She has a little bit of similarities to Logan too, I think – brings him to Japan and fighting together.  

What’s it like for you filming the action scenes?  As we can see they’re very difficult to film.

FUKUSHIMA:  Before I started filming, I came to Australia in July and started training for three weeks.  I do a lot of exercise but I’ve never done anything like this, so I didn’t know how much I should do.  I thought, “I gotta do everything!”  But now I’m more half and half.  I do part of it and the stunt double does part of it.  It’s fun, it’s great, I still practice every day. 

Has Hugh been helpful in the action scenes, has he given you any advice?

The-Wolverine-Hugh-Jackman-imageFUKUSHIMA:  Yes.  Hugh is wonderful and he’s super wonderful to work with and he’s super professional, and super nice to everybody, super gentleman.  It’s really interesting to see how Hugh spends [time] between the takes.  I actually learned how to eat more, because he does stunts a lot and eats every couple hours trying to keep his energy up.  Every time I look at him, he’s eating or exercising.  I don’t do weights between waiting but I’m eating every three hours trying to keep my energy up, and do a little bit of exercising trying to build my muscle.  I actually got – I hope I can show you guys – but I got a little muscle. People are kind of like, “Ooh.” 

Do you enjoy beating everyone up? With the muscles, do you get to beat Hugh up?

FUKUSHIMA:  His body is like a sculpture, he’s so big and the muscles are moving.  I was watching like – that’s something people have to check out.  His actual muscle moving like a wave, you know, making waves.  Serious, every time he moved, the muscle moved. 

That’s an accurate way to describe it but I’ve never heard it like that.

FUKUSHIMA:  Really?  Yeah, when he breathes, you see muscle moving along.  

Do you think that Japanese audiences will like this movie?

FUKUSHIMA:  I think so.  Actually, when we had a shoot in Japan we had a lot of fun and all the people got so excited to see Hugh.  There was screaming and running to Hugh.  And someone came up and photographed me, and I felt someone ask me for an autograph and that’s never happened to me – I mean, it doesn’t happen often.  I was like, “Oh, okay.”  And then they were like, “Can I ask you something?  Can I get an autograph from Hugh?”  I’m like, “Maybe not.  You should ask straight.”  It happened in Japan. 

the-wolverine-movie-posterWe heard that Hiroyuki Sanada is called the George Clooney of Japan.  Is it exciting for you to work with Japan’s biggest star?

FUKUSHIMA:  Oh yes.  And for action sequences, he helped me a lot for the job of sword fighting – because I’ve never done sword – and Hiroyuki, Mr. Sanada taught me how to do it the traditional way and he also gave me a lot of ideas for my character.  He gave me a feedback for my character’s sword fighting which was really helpful.  Yeah, it’s great, he’s like George Clooney.

Is there anything you’d like to recommend to people who visit Sydney?  What have you been enjoying when you’re not filming?

FUKUSHIMA:  People have asked me what I’ve done since I’ve been here but I’m actually back and forth – studio and hotel.  I haven’t done anything yet.  No koala, no kangaroo, no house, so that’s what I want to do.  I’m going to keep it for later, so I can’t really recommend yet.

The Wolverine opens July 26th.  For more from our set visit:

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