Alicia Vikander On Learning Japanese for Earthquake Bird | Netflix


My experience [speaking]
Japanese in Earthquake Bird, it was a lot of work. (Japanese music) What is your job? I’m a translator at Sasagawa. [You have family here?] [No, just me.] [What does your father do?] [He’s an electrician.] (dark music) Speaking another language in a film, I’ve done it a few times. I did a film in Danish, A Royal Affair, which was my first time away from my native language, Swedish. And then of course speaking in English, was a big first step as well. [I didn’t catch up with her.] To learn somewhere between
seven to ten scenes probably, where I spoke Japanese, I had
to memorize every single word. I had both a language
coach, I had an actress. I used my makeup lady every morning, who’s both fluent in English and Japanese. And I actually started
with reading out loud, the scene translated in
English to get a sense of what it is I wanted to
act and to come forward. And if you are bilingual,
you know that it’s such a cultural difference in
how you explain yourself with different words and languages. So when I acted it out in English, they actually rewrote
the Japanese version, because they were like
“Ah, the way you say that or maybe use a bit of sarcasm, or the joy that comes through in that sentence, you would probably explain
this way in Japanese.” So then we went a second round. [But… you photographed me.] The difficulty that we
were facing was of course that I couldn’t learn
Japanese in two, three months. But I wanted to understand as much about the language as possible. And when we did this
translation of the second round, when they had heard me act
the scene out in English, then it was interesting. Because then all these
discussions about what words actually mean and how they come
across in different cultures and how it’s actually very different. And they have a way of addressing people, like we would say “you” to somebody. They have like, I don’t know,
a lot more options of that. And how you address somebody of course, immediately changes what
the situation looks like. And I mean we ended up changing the script and the translation until on the day, which was very (laughing)
difficult sometimes. (dark music) I went to Japan the first
time, four or five years ago. And I think it was the one
country, since when I was a kid, that I really, really wanted to go to. And I had always had this
fascination of their culture. And then to get this chance,
to not only get to go and film in Japan, but
also actually get to have knowledge about the language. And work with I think 75-80%
of our crew were Japanese, which was an experience of a lifetime. And also doing another language or accent, immediately helps you to transform into another character and another person.

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