Friday, April 7, 2017

Keith Yatsuhasi's "Kokoro"

Keith Yatsuhasi is inspired equally by The Lord of the Rings and Toho’s Godzilla movies. He is Director of the US Department of Commerce Export Assistance Centre in Providence, Rhode Island. A long time ago, in a world far, far away, Yatsuhasi was a champion figure skater.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Kokoro:
When Marshal first asked me to come up with a dream cast for Kokoro, I thought it would be a piece of cake. The reality turned out a bit differently. Trying to find the right people to put in each role is daunting. Yes, you can play with hair and eye color, but the intangibles? Those are much harder. I’m not a casting director, and honestly, I’m flailing a bit with this question. Kojiki, the first book in the series, was easier – not sure why, it just was. With that said, here’s who I think would make a good Kokoro cast.

Keiko: Karen Fukuhara

Keiko is the heart and soul of my books. Every event revolves around her in some way. Interestingly enough, she was the easiest character for me to cast. The whole flack over Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell made me vow to select a Japanese-American actress. I’d seen Karen Fukuhara in Suicide Squad last year and remember wondering if she’d make a good Keiko. Her SS character is as different from Keiko as you can get. I dug a little deeper for this post, watched her interviews on YouTube. Those sold me. She has the optimistic, sunny personality that defines Keiko. If she can bring enough depth and complexity to the role, she’d be perfect.

Juno: Olivia Holt

Juno was a hard one. She’s young, just twenty, but she’s also steel. Her age proved to be the biggest hurdle. Whenever I came up with a name, the actress was usually outside the age range I was looking for. Sure, I thought of the Fannings, and Chloë Moretz, but ultimately, those three, like so many others, just weren’t right. I like their work and think they’re great, but the movies I saw them in didn’t make me think of Juno. Olivia Holt did. I first saw her in a commercial for Nivea, I think. I went to IMDB and looked up her roles, watched a few, and was even more convinced. She’s that all American girl, the typical college student. I’m curious about what she could do with the role.

Baiyren: Liam Hemsworth
Kaidan: Chris Hemsworth

Who better to play Kokoro’s broken brothers than two real brothers? Yes they’re well known, and yes I might be typecasting, but really? Watching these two fight each other while searching for forgiveness would be magical.

Miko: Sarah Bolger

The obvious choice for Miko would be either Jennifer Lawrence or Margot Robbie. Unfortunately, they’re too well known. I’d prefer a fresh face. Which brings me to Sarah Bolger. She’s terrific in Into the Badlands. I don’t watch The Tudors, but that show’s produced some really great actors. I’m confident she could pull of this complex character. Miko is arrogant but conflicted. Any actress playing her has to walk the line between being hated and misunderstood. Not easy.

Regan: Regan was always Aishwarya Rai. Always.

King Toscan Tallaenaq: Peter Capaldi. Uh-huh. This Doctor Who fan had to include him. He rocks.
Visit Keith Yatsuhasi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue